Back to News

Professional executors shouldn’t cost the earth

Recent newspaper articles have highlighted the charges made by some firms, in particular banks, when they act as executors in a deceased’s will. In some cases these fees can be an administration fee of £1,500 plus 2.5% of the value of the estate. So for an estate worth £200,000 this would be £6,500.

Calculating fees by reference to the value of the estate does not reflect the amount of work undertaken by the executors. For example, the £200,000 could all be invested in one bank account, therefore the amount of work required by the executors is very little.

There are estates where the appointment of a professional executor is appropriate.  For example, an individual may have no relatives or friends who they think would be willing or able to take on the role, the estate may have complex tax issues and the testator may be concerned that these are dealt with competently or there may be family dynamics which mean a professional executor, who is impartial and has no emotional involvement in the estate, is the best option.

Will writing is not regulated which means that any individual can write a will for someone and appoint themselves as executor. However, if you instruct Atherton Godfrey as executors we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and therefore we are bound to act in the client’s best interests. Our professional code provides that we must always give clients sufficient information about the appointment of ourselves as executors and the related costs.  We must also make clients aware that if a lay person is appointed as executor they can engage the services of a professional to help with the administration of the estate.

Perhaps most importantly, our costs must be fair and reasonable. Where we act as executors our costs are not calculated on a percentage basis. We only charge, on a time basis, for the work we undertake.

Get in touch today