Skip to main content

Who can I appoint as an Executor in my Will?

A question our Wills and probate team often get asked is who can act as an Executor. In this article, we’ve shared who you can appoint as an Executor along with some things you should consider before making this important decision, to help ensure your estate gets handled as you wish it to. 

Who can be an Executor of a Will? 

You can appoint anyone as an Executor in your Will, even if they are someone you have appointed to inherit something from you in your Will. 

It is common for people to appoint their spouses, an adult child or other close family member. Executors must be over 18 at the date of death. You may wish to consider the age of your Executors as parents or older people may be more likely to pass away before you.

You can appoint up to four people as an Executor in your Will. This helps to ensure shared responsibility rather than everything falling on one person, but it does mean all Executor decisions must be taken jointly. It is not advisable to appoint people who do not get on as this can lead to difficulties and increased expense in dealing with the estate.

Commonly, people choose to appoint at least two executors. This helps to cover the possibility that one of your executors may pass before you do or are for some reason, unable to carry out their duties. In some events, a person appoints a family member and a professional, such as a solicitor to act as executors together. 

In some situations, people don’t feel comfortable appointing a loved one as an Executor. Often this is due to not wanting to give them additional worries or pressure at what will be an already upsetting time or because there is some worry about the Will or an Executor’s decisions being disputed by other friends or family. It’s common in these situations to see a person appoint a professional firm, such as a law firm, to act as their Executor. If you do appoint a professional as an Executor, it’s important to understand that your estate would pay for their fees for handling the case. Your solicitor will discuss your wishes and your options so that you can make an informed decision if you are unsure.

What to consider before appointing someone as an Executor? 

As discussed in our recent blog What are the duties of an Executor of a Will?’ we shared a list of legal responsibilities an Executor has when handling the administration of your probate. It is important to carefully consider the most appropriate person or people you trust will be able to handle these fundamental responsibilities in their future role as Executor. 

It’s also worth considering that often in the modern world, administering an estate can be complex, time-consuming and can sometimes end up being a contentious matter. This can arise where people try to undermine an Executors decision or an Executor doesn’t appear to act with responsibility and integrity in their position – sometimes acting in a way that benefits themselves. It can also arise where someone feels that they did not believe they received their entitlement under the Will or that the Will was in some way invalid and contest it. In these situations the Executors may find themselves embroiled in court proceedings.

This is particularly something we may see when there are complex family or business structures to consider; if for example, you have a modern blended family structure with stepchildren or children from previous relationships, have a company with directors and shareholders or trusts to handle as part of the probate process and disagreements arise.

It is essential to carefully consider your Executors because you need someone who will act responsibly at a time when emotions are running high. It’s crucial your Executors understand and have the time to carry out all the steps they need to, including managing and keeping records of the finances involved and being able to make appropriate decisions on behalf of all the beneficiaries of the estate. Executors will often instruct Solicitors to act on their behalf and deal with some or most of the probate process but it is still a position of responsibility.

Sadly, we too often see cases of lengthy and expensive legal disputes surrounding probate, which can cause family rifts that are hard to heal – something nobody intends to cause when they make their Will. 

This highlights as well as making the right choice of Executors, the importance of ensuring your Will clearly sets out who you want to benefit, what they are to benefit and if you have suspicions that someone may dispute your decisions, you should seek legal advice on how to best protect your Will from facing a legal dispute during probate. 

If you are planning to make a Will but are unsure about who to appoint as your Executor(s), have worries about your Will being disputed or are an executor or beneficiary seeking further advice or assistance on a probate matter, speak to our specialist Wills and Probate solicitors today on 0161 427 0084 (Marple Bridge) or 01484 442 700 (Holmfirth). Alternatively, you can email us on

Written by Carol-Anne Baker

Estate Planning, Executors, Inheritance Planning, Legal, Probate, Will Writing, Wills

Get in touch
close slider

    Please let us have the following information.