Historically, solicitors have been appointed to act as professional executors of estates. Whether this has been because it was the done thing or because people thought estate administration was too difficult, who knows.
It is not so much the case these days as people now feel their families are more able to manage the administration of an estate themselves. There are however some wills where a professional appointment still exists and family members may not want the professional to act.
There are circumstances in which a solicitor acting as an executor is a good idea namely if the estate is complicated or there are families in conflict or there may be a challenge to the estate from a disappointed beneficiary. Sometimes solicitors have refused to step down and renounce their appointment as executor and tr
ustee when asked, leaving difficult relationships between them and family members during the administration period.
When taking instructions about the appointment of an executor a professional should ensure that they have discussed the reasons for their appointment with the person making the will so that any request to step down can be discussed and the reasons for the appointment made clear.
If a professional executor is asked to step down they do need to consider and demonstrate that they have taken steps to show whether or not it is appropriate for them to act.
If you are appointed to act as an executor with a professional or are a beneficiary of a will with professional executors you should not feel afraid to ask the question about stepping down. It could save the family a lot of money but remember, professional executors do you have a role to play and you should also give careful thought as to whether that professional expertise could benefit in the long run.
If you have any questions about the appointment of executors please give us a call on 01622 843729.