Being appointed as the executor of a loved one’s Will can feel overwhelming, especially if you have never acted as an executor before. Most people choose someone they trust to be their executor, which means it is likely they will also be a beneficiary of their Will. However, many people are confused about whether they can act as an executor of an estate where they stand to inherit.
What is an executor?
An executor is the person appointed to administer your estate after you pass away. Executors have a responsibility to distribute your assets in line with your Will, close your accounts, pay your debts, pay for your funeral, and any other associated administrative duties. The role of executor can be burdensome, so you may wish to appoint several executors, or if you have been appointed as an executor, instruct a professional to assist you.
If I stand to inherit from an estate in Scotland, can I act as executor?
In short, yes and in fact, this is very common. Most people typically appoint family members to act as executors, which may mean there are several beneficiaries of the Will acting as an executor. You can appoint the main beneficiary of your estate as an executor. Alternatively, you can also not appoint any of your beneficiaries as an executor and instead choose a competent friend or even a professional such as a solicitor.
A beneficiary of a Will cannot, however, be a witness to the signature of the Will. You must choose witnesses who are independent.
What happens if I do not want to act as executor?
If you do not wish to act as an executor, you do not have to. If you have been named in the Will and the person is still alive, you can ask them to update their Will and appoint someone else. Where the person has passed away, it is still possible to change the executor of the estate. If there are other executors named in the Will who are willing to act, you should inform them and then write a formal letter of resignation. If there is no other executor named in the Will, you must first find someone willing to act as executor before you can resign. As the executor, you can appoint a new executor and then you may resign.
"I used Wilson and Fish to get Confirmation for my late fathers estate. They provided a friendly and efficient service. Good communication throughout the process and everything clearly explained. I would happily recommend Wilson and Fish. Thanks to Donna for making it so simple."
- Gavin Laird, Scotland, December 2019
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