An executor is a person who will carry out the instructions in your Will once you have passed away.
In general, you can appoint any person as executor of your Will, this includes solicitors. It is not uncommon for a solicitor to be appointed executor of a Will. The advantage of having a solicitor as executor is their experience handling Wills, as opposed to someone who has never undertaken the role of an executor.
It is quite likely that whomever you appoint as the executor will have to seek advice from a solicitor while acting as executor anyway.
Why should I appoint my solicitor as executor of my Will?
If you have a complicated estate and family situation, it may be worth considering appointing a solicitor as executor of your Will.
Solicitors bring professionalism and experience to the role of executor. It easier for a solicitor to remain impartial and manage disputes, should any disagreements arise as to the contents of the Will.
An experienced solicitor can also ensure your Will is executed in a timely manner, communicate the progress of execution of the Will to beneficiaries and ensure account keeping is properly maintained.
What is required from a solicitor who is to become executor of my Will?
If you decide to appoint a solicitor as executor of your Will, they must notify you in writing to confirm they will be acting as executor of your Will and should include the following in a confirmation letter;
- Any entitlements they may be able to claim from carrying out instructions in your Will;
- Costs and charges for legal fees or executor’s commission;
- Any people who may not make a claim against the executor’s commission.
The solicitor must disclose their fee structure for your consideration.
Can a solicitor charge a fee for executing my Will?
Yes, they can! There are a few ways in which a solicitor can be paid for executing a Will, for example, a clause in the Will provides for a legacy to be paid to the executor/s or a rate of commission or right to charge for professional rates for non-professional work.
Solicitors acting as executors must ensure they comply with Legal Profession Uniform Rules when renumerating themselves for executing the Will.
The subject of executors’ remuneration has potential to become complex, hence we recommend you speak to one of our specialist lawyers to ensure you have everything covered.
An experienced solicitor is able to bring professionalism and impartiality to the role of executor. If a solicitor has accepted to take on the role of executor of your Will, they must notify you in writing to confirm they will be acting as executor. They can also explain their obligations to you as executor of your Will and the different ways in which they can be renumerated for carrying out your final wishes.
This area of law is extensive and can be overwhelming to understand. We recommend you speak with one of our specialist lawyers, who can ensure you have everything in order when it comes to appointing a solicitor as executor of your Will, as they will after all, be fulfilling your final wishes.
If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact us on 03 8346 4900 or email [email protected].