Very often my clients nominate family members or close friends to be the executor and hence trustee within their Will.  However, some people are not that lucky or able.  This doesn’t happen often but I do get clients who have no one to be their executor/trustee, either because they have a very reduced circle of family and friends, for whatever reason, or because there is no one they trust to take on that role.  Sometimes there is a combined situation where they want to nominate family members but recognise that those people will need help from a professional, maybe because the estate is complex, or the circumstances are complicated.

Using a professional executor, either solely or combined with others, can often be the solution.  Here are some pros and cons associated with using a professional executor:


    • They have the expertise to take on what can often be a very onerous role.
    • The liability is with them rather than the designated family member.
    • Administering an estate takes a lot of time, effort and diligence which many laypersons do not have.
    • They understand and can deal with the income tax implications at death.
    • They understand and can deal with the inheritance tax implications at death.
    • They understand the reporting procedures to HMRC at death, including the registration of trusts on the Trust Registration System.
    • They will set up appropriate trusts dictated by the Will.
    • They will be objective over decisions that may be emotive for family members.
    • The better companies will pay all costs upfront so that your family don’t have to and will not expect to be paid themselves until funds have been released from the estate.
    • They will deal with charities, which can be quite a challenging task.
    • They will set up appropriate bank accounts and accounting systems.
    • The better companies work on a fixed fee which you will be made aware of upfront.
    • Professionals will take away any arguments and hassle that plague families at a difficult time which can be fuelled by the rigour of estate administration.


    • They will charge a fee for their services whereas family members tend to work for free
      The control is taken away from the family, although most companies will offer various degrees of engagement regarding the estate
    • Hamilton Legacy has a bank of professional executors that it can recommend so you can select the one that best fits your family dynamic.
    • When people decide to nominate a professional executor in their Will, we always suggest that they ensure the professional concerned would renounce for free at the time of death just in case the family decide that their services are no longer needed.
    • Other families/executors come back to us at death and ask for help in administering their loved one’s estate and we can then refer them to our bank of professionals.

As always, we would be delighted to talk this through with you so do email us on or call the office on 0191 406 0747.