Can I Name A Beneficiary As An Executor?

executor beneficiary
Can I Name A Beneficiary As An Executor?

When writing a will, many individuals wonder if an executor can also be a beneficiary. And Yes, it is quite typical (and legal) to name the same person in your will as both an executor and a beneficiary.

What’s the difference between a beneficiary and an executor?

Beneficiaries are the individuals you wish to inherit your property (also known as your estate) upon your death. You may designate your spouse, children, relatives, friends, and charities as beneficiaries.

There are various categories of bequests that can be left to beneficiaries. You can leave a specific amount of money, an item, or a portion of your estate’s remainder after all debts and other bequests have been satisfied.

Executors are the individuals you choose to administer your estate after death. Most individuals choose one or two executors, although up to four can act simultaneously. It is advisable to name multiple executors or a backup executor in the event that your first choice is unable to act. Typically, individuals appoint family members, acquaintances, or a professional executor (such as a lawyer or accountant) to serve in this capacity.

Choosing your executor

Being an executor is a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly. An executor’s primary responsibilities include:

  • corresponding with anyone involved in the estate, including those inheriting from the estate, those owed money from the estate and any service providers
  • applying to the Probate Registry for a grant of probate
  • calculating the value of the estate
  • calculating tax, submitting tax forms to HMRC and paying any tax that’s due
  • settling any outstanding debts on the Estate
  • selling or transferring property and other assets
  • distributing the estate to the beneficiaries named in your will

As you can see, there is a significant amount of legal, tax, and administrative labour involved, and the executor may be held personally accountable if anything goes wrong. As a result, it’s critical to choose your executor carefully. Your executor should be someone you not only trust but also someone who is competent to carry out this role when the time comes.

Furthermore, your chosen executor is not required to take up the duty if they don’t want to. As a result, if you wish to appoint a family member or acquaintance, it’s essential to consult with them first.

Naming a beneficiary as an executor

It is common to name one of your beneficiaries as the executor of your will. It is highly probable that you will want to name at least one of your beneficiaries as your executor, and it is not uncommon for this to be your primary beneficiary.

On the other hand, your executor might not be listed as a beneficiary. Perhaps you would like your children to inherit everything, but you would like your incredibly competent friend to serve as an independent executor. Again, this is an acceptable practice.

Naming a beneficiary as a witness

A beneficiary should not, however, serve as a testamentary witness. Neither should the spouse (or civil companion) of the beneficiary. If a beneficiary serves as a witness, your will will not be invalidated, but the beneficiary will no longer be entitled to their inheritance.

You must sign the will in the presence of two impartial witnesses. These witnesses must then sign the will in front of you.

Avatar of DLS Solicitors by DLS Solicitors
7th October 2023
Avatar of DLS Solicitors
DLS Solicitors

Our team of professionals are based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. We offer clear, specialist legal advice in all matters relating to Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Lasting Power of Attorney and Court of Protection.

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