Who will be the executors and trustees of your will?

Your executors will have the legal authority to act on your behalf, once you die, to finalise your affairs and to ensure that your estate is distributed in accordance with your will.

You can choose anyone who is over 18 and of sufficient mental capacity. It is wise to have more than one executor so they can share the duties, and so there is another executor if one is unable to carry out the tasks or if one dies before you. And remember that, while it is common to have a close family member, they will also have their bereavement to deal with at the same time.

Think about asking your spouse or partner, other friends and family or maybe a law firm (although they will charge your estate for their services).

If you've appointed guardians for your children under 18, consider choosing someone other than the guardians as your executors. This is because the executors usually become the trustees of your children’s property. The trustees will make financial provision for the children so that the guardians can fulfil their duties, and then the property can be transferred to the children when they reach the age to inherit.

You can choose to appoint one of our selected law firms as an executor if you would like to. There is no fee for choosing them but fees will be charged as and when it comes to administering the estate; your beneficiaries can always ask a professional executor to step down and law firms will usually do so.

The role of an executor comes to an end once the assets of your estate have been distributed (either outright to beneficiaries or to the trustees if there are any ongoing will trusts). This interview provides for the same people to be both your executors and your trustees.

Substitute executors

If you only select individuals as executors, you will also be asked if you wish to appoint a substitute executor. We recommend that you do so. If you chose to appoint a law firm as one of the executors, you don't need a substitute and you won't be asked about this.

For more information, see our pages on Executors.