The executor of a will is one of the most important roles in it. It comes with a large degree of responsibility and can involve a lot of work and many challenges. But does the executor of a will get paid in the UK?
Sadly, the answer is usually no. Certainly, an executor will not get paid by default.
However, that’s not the complete picture. Here is everything you know about how you might or might not get paid for fulfilling your duties as the executor of a will:
Does An Executor Of A Will Get Paid?
Despite the amount of work that can be involved, an executor is not automatically entitled to be paid for their work. However, it is possible for:
1) A Will To Make Provisions For Paying An Executor
Some wills recognise that the job of an executor deserves some sort of recompense and earmark a portion of the estate or a lump sum to the executors in thanks for the work they are going to do.
You can’t simply bill an estate for your time as an executor though. There has to be a specific provision in the will.
2) An Executor To Claim Expenses
However, it is recognised in law that some tasks an executor might have to complete do cost money. You will need to pay probate fees, for example. The estate will cover those expenses so you are not left out of pocket by your work.
This means it’s good practice to collect all receipts and invoices as you administer the estate. This will ensure there are no difficulties when it comes to claiming those expenses back.
This is important. Because the beneficiaries can protest against any expenses that seem too high.
3) Professional Executors To Charge Fees
Being an executor can be hard work. For this reason, many people decide to use a professional such as a solicitor to do the job for them rather than put a potentially onerous duty on the shoulders of a close friend or family member.
The way this works is much the same as when a will makes provision for an individual executor to be paid. The only difference is that a professional executor or trustee will insist on there being a specific clause (known as a “charging clause”) in the will that allows them to charge for their services.
Again, it is possible for beneficiaries of the will to object if the fees the professional attempts to charge are perceived as too high. However, even if a replacement executor is named, they cannot be paid using the existing charging clause unless they are also a professional.
A “professional” is here taken to mean they are acting as part of their profession or as a business that delivers services connected to being an executor or trustee.
A recent court case clarified that executors can only be paid if their business delivers these specific kinds of highly relevant services. Even if an executor were to try to claim for other work done administering the estate, the will must use language that specifies they can for the claim to be successful.
Who Are Most Likely To Be Paid Executors Under A Will?
Because of the fact that professionals delivering services will have a specific type of “charging clause” inserted, they are the most likely to be paid executors under a will. Solicitors are the type of professional most commonly trusted to perform this duty.
This is particularly valuable if the estate is a complex one as a specialist solicitor will have legal knowledge and experience that will smooth the way.
As mentioned above, it’s also not impossible for friends or family members of the deceased chosen as executors to be paid for their work. However, the default and most common position is a “silent will” – that is to say, a will that makes no provision for an executor to be paid for their time.
Are Expenses Paid In Addition To Any Fees?
Yes. Executor expenses are usually paid in addition to any fees that they may be paid for their services.
However, the charging clause included in a will on behalf of a professional or an individual can stipulate different outcomes. Unless you are an expert yourself, it’s always worth checking with a specialist as to what the legal language of a charging clause actually means.
What Are Usual Executor Expenses?
Standard executor expenses are not strictly defined. As long as the executor can show how that the expense was made because it was required or benefited the estate, they are normally accepted.
That said, beneficiaries are allowed to request the estate’s accounts and have the right to challenge any expenses that seem illegitimate.
The usual sorts of things that you might expect to count as executor expenses include:
- Funeral expenses and probate fees
- Any necessary property maintenance, cleaning, or ongoing utility bills
- The fees of surveyors or valuers of property as well as estate agent and conveyancing solicitor fees when selling property
- Travel or postage costs (though this is worth defining with the beneficiaries)
- Property insurance for unoccupied buildings
If you are in any doubt, it’s worth discussing with the other executors and beneficiaries of the estate what they understand you can claim for. It’s also often worth consulting a legal expert.
This is because, as an executor, you are personally liable for any losses to an estate caused by errors – even honest ones. This means that not only may an executor of a will in the UK not get paid, but they open themselves up to unexpected costs too.
Need To Know More About Your Duties As An Executor? Want To Make Sure You Won’t Be Left Out Of Pocket For Your Time?
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