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Should I Use a Professional Executor?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 9 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Professional Executor Executor Writing A

Becoming an executor of a will involves a significant amount of work. It is no coincidence that the choice and nomination of the executor is one of the aspects of the will-writing process to which most thought is given. It is an important role, and one that will require dedication, intelligence and patience on the part of the individual in question.

Given the potentially large workload assumed by executors, many people choose to enlist the services of a professional. Numerous options exist whereby a dedicated executor or other legal or financial professional will take on the work involved in executing the will. Professional executors can represent a useful option for those who are worried about burdening their family with the tasks of executing their will.

Benefits of professional executors

Amongst the primary benefits of a professional executor is their personal distance from you and your immediate family. As has been explained, the tasks facing an executor are significant and they can have a wide-ranging effect on the future of your assets. If you nominate a trusted individual from your family, the likelihood is that they will be emotionally affected by your death – and, as such, may not be thinking straight. Conversely, you can be assured that professional executors will remain emotionally uninvolved.

Secondly, professional executors often work closely with you during the writing of your will and any trust documents. This means you can be reasonably confident that your affairs will be dealt with exactly as you intended. Professional executors will precisely understand the instructions held in a legally valid will – potentially unlike a friend or family member, who is unlikely to have any legal training.

Downsides of professional executors

It is important to consider the potential downsides of hiring the services of a professional executor. Cost is a primary drawback. Professional executors generally charge a percentage of the value of the estate in return for their services. This percentage is sometimes open to negotiation, but it is worth remembering that many professional executors will only deal with estates above a certain value. As such, some individuals may find it impossible to secure these services.

Secondly, emotional distance can actually represent a drawback. In order for affairs to be dealt with fairly and sympathetically, personal knowledge of a family situation is often needed. A professional executor will almost certainly lack such knowledge. In order to get around this, many people choose to appoint a professional as a co-executor, trusting them to co-operate with a friend or family member to properly carry out your wishes.

Choosing an executor is amongst the most important steps in the process of writing a will. It is imperative that you appoint an individual that you trust completely; they will be charged with carrying out your wishes and disbursing your estate. As such, you may dislike the anonymity and distance involved in the appointment of a professional executor. However, if you wish to avoid the necessity for your loved ones to deal with your affairs at such a difficult time, and are able to bear the cost, a professional executor may well be a promising option.

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