An Executor is the person appointed in a Will to administer the estate and take out a grant of probate to the estate of the deceased and carries out the wishes of the Testator after their death, in accordance with the Will made. The role of the executor can be onerous and complex and so it is preferable to appoint two executors when making a Will, in case one is unable or unwilling to act after your death.

Executors should be appointed with care. The executor does not need to have any special qualifications, but you should choose someone who is reliable, willing and in a position to carry out the duties of an executor. It is wise to talk the matter over with them first. Spouses, partners and family members are appointed in the majority of cases. It is advisable to appoint an executor who is resident in the state as an executor residing outside the state could cause practical difficulties in administering the estate.

Executors normally appoint a firm of experienced solicitors to deal with the legal aspects of obtaining the Grant of Probate as there are many complex issues to deal with. Unless directed in the Will, this does not have to be the firm which assisted in the writing of the Will although it often makes sense to appoint them as they will most likely be more familiar with the legal affairs and wishes of the deceased.

Generally speaking, the larger the estate, whether in terms of property, possessions, wealth or the number of beneficiaries, the more difficult and time consuming it will be to disperse. One of the biggest drawbacks to being an executor is the amount of time it takes to properly handle responsibilities and so most executors do rely on a solicitor to handle many of these matters.

Three additional pieces of advice when making your Will to make the executor’s job easier:

  1. Dispersing personal possessions that have little financial value but great sentimental value can bring about conflict and so instructions should be left, where practical and possible.
  2. When the testator keeps track of the estate annually, the executor will have a good snapshot of the assets to be collected in when required.
  3. An executor should have a record of the testator’s online presence to deactivate accounts.

NB – This is a guide for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have an issue requiring legal advice, please contact any of the team at Nolan Farrell & Goff LLP, whose numbers can be found on our website, or email