Can my Executors benefit from my Will?
This is a common question often asked by clients and comes from a misconception that there’s a conflict between the two.
Yes, your beneficiaries and family can act as your Executors. Your Executors do not need to be an independent individual or a professional.
A beneficiary is someone who has been left something in a Will – money, property or personal belongings.
An Executor is the person who carried out the instructions in a Will.
It is very common for beneficiaries and family to act as Executors as they are likely I know what you own and people you Trust. An executor must be over the age of 18 and should be someone who is responsible, organised, financially savvy and doesn’t mind lots of paperwork and phone calls.
You do not have to appoint a professional to act as an Executor, but you might choose to do so. Professionals have the time and expertise to settle an estate efficiently and remove the stress from your family.
If you have any questions about Wills, LPAs or probate & estate administration please get in touch.
Why use a legal professional to draft your Will?
A legal professional will consider your personal circumstances AND your financial and tax position to avoid your estate paying more than necessary. They’ll also advise how to provide for children after your death, including naming a guardian, putting protective trusts in place for tax reasons or for your children or a vulnerable family member.
A Will should use clear and unambiguous language. All the beneficiaries must be correctly identified and included. A will writing professional will also ensure that your documents are signed and witnessed in the correct legal way to ensure they are valid.
One of the most important reasons to take advice is so your chosen firm’s legal advisers would also be able to confirm your intentions and your capacity, if these were ever questioned. Taking time to understand your wishes, ensuring you understand what you are signing is essential. If the validity of your Will is questioned, they can provide evidence of ‘due execution’ and the circumstances prior and during the signing of your Will.
A clear, well-drafted, professionally written Will is less likely to be the subject of a court case against it. A homemade Will can be easier to challenge as those who have been left out may feel that they have more of a chance of successfully doing so.
The cost of making a Will is a tiny fraction of the expense and disruption of a legal dispute. To give yourself peace of mind and reassurance for your loved ones, we recommend having your Will drawn up by a legal specialist. Ask for a referral from friends or family you trust. Look for a firm that is a member of a recognised regulatory body such as the Institute of Professional Willwriters or the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, and can demonstrate competence, credibility and appropriate insurance.