The choice of an Executor or Executors to administer your estate in accordance with your Will is a very important decision.
There is no legal requirement to appoint a professional Executor such as a Solicitor, Accountant or Bank. If you do not have complicated financial affairs, your Will is straightforward and you do not consider there is any likelihood of a dispute regarding your Will, then you may not consider it necessary to appoint a professional Executor.
In many straightforward cases a family member or friend may be considered suitable and able to carry out the task. However, the office of an Executor can be an onerous task with the legal responsibilities and a risk of personal liability if the estate suffers loss as a consequence of the actions (or lack of action) of the Executors. It is important to appoint someone who you consider is trustworthy, will deal efficiently with paperwork and will act impartially to carry out your wishes.
It is always possible for the Executor(s) appointed to instruct a professional person (such as a Solicitor) to act on their behalf to administer your estate. The professional person’s charges may be met out of the estate and the Executor(s) will be able to agree with the professional person the manner in which his charges will be calculated.
There are, however, many instances where you may consider it appropriate to appoint a professional Executor. Some examples of those instances may be as follows:
- Where your financial affairs are complex involving, for example, business or agricultural assets, foreign assets or a large estate where the Inheritance Tax and other taxation implications may be complicated.
- Where your Will is complex including a number of gifts and setting up trusts.
- Where you anticipate that the beneficiaries will not agree and there will be some benefit by having an impartial professional Executor to act.
- Where you consider there is a likelihood of the provisions of the Will being disputed.
- Where there is another Will made in another jurisdiction dealing specifically with the assets in that jurisdiction.
Hegarty Solicitors are willing to act as Executors in appropriate cases when asked to do so and in that event the firm would charge for acting as Executor. It should, however, be noted that there is no further charge for appointing the firm to be the Executor and the charges only arise following your death.
It is difficult to envisage the likely cost of dealing with your estate as hopefully our services will not be required for many years. By way of guidance, where the firm is currently acting as Executor then we calculate our charges to ensure that they are fair and reasonable (bearing in mind the factors contained in the Solicitors’ (Non Contentious) Business Remuneration Order 2009). Currently, our charges are calculated primarily by reference to the time spent by the person carrying out the work at an hourly rate of charge. In some circumstances there may be, in addition, an element relating to the value of the estate and currently that element is assessed as a maximum of:
1.5% of the gross value of the estate excluding the main residence
In the vast majority of cases the firm is able to provide an accurate estimate as to the likely total charges following the death. In a number of situations the firm is willing to provide a fixed fee quotation.
There may be occasions following a death where we are asked to step down from the office of Executor. This is called renouncing the appointment. This does place us in a difficult position as we do consider that we have a duty to you if you have asked us to act as Executor but having said this we are always willing to consider renouncing our appointment where all of the beneficiaries ask us to do so and we do not consider that there is any risk to the estate.