Professional Executors versus Non-Professional Executors in a Will
The role of an Executor of a Will is to carry out the instructions and wishes written in a deceased persons Will.
The role of a Trustee is to take care of the managing of any funds from the deceased Estate that was not to be distributed immediately, for example, monies held Upon Trust.
Whilst it is possible to appoint separate Executors and Trustees in a Will, nowadays in the majority of standard Wills (those that do not contain Will Trusts), the Executors and Trustees duties are carried out by the same person.
Professional and Non-Professional Executors
If Professional Executors have been appointed in a Will, for example, Solicitors, Banks or Probate companies, a clause must be included in the Will that allows the Professional Executors to charge their normal fees for time spent on the administration of the deceased Estate.
In contrast if Non-Professional Executors have been appointed in a Will, for example, Family and Friends then these people are not entitled to charge their own fees for their work in administering the deceased Estate, however, they can claim for out of pocket expenses, for example, the cost of postage and telephone calls.
If Non-Professional executors have been appointed then the Will should include a clause that allows them to pay for the services of a Professional Executor if they felt they needed to do so.
This is because while someone may have originally been happy to act as an Executor when the Will was first written, after the passing of time, many circumstances could have changed and the original Executor may no longer be in a position to carry out their duties.
Also if the Will was made many years ago without ever being reviewed or revised then it’s possible that all the originally named Executors could have died before the Testator (the person making the Will).
If this happens then this does not automatically invalidate the Will, the Beneficiaries can still receive their share of the deceased Estate even if there are no Executors to distribute it.
This is because the distribution of an Estate according to the terms of a valid Will is a legally binding obligation.
Anybody who was intended to benefit under the terms of the Will can take over the job themselves by applying for what is known as the Letters of Administration which allow them to carry on the work of distributing the Estate as the Testator originally wished and documented in their Will.