Advice Admin & Legal Can an Executor of a Will Also Be a Beneficiary?

Can an Executor of a Will Also Be a Beneficiary?

In short, yes the executor of a will can also be a beneficiary.

This is a common question about making a will that needs clearing up. The executor of your estate can be a beneficiary but there are key differences it is important to know.

What are the key differences between the executor and a beneficiary?

A beneficiary in a will is someone who you have left something. This could be a gift of money, property or specific items. In other words they will benefit. Importantly, anyone can be a beneficiary in a will. There are no restrictions on the number of beneficiaries you have.

The executor of your will is someone that you have chosen to carry out your wishes when you pass away. This person must be over the age of 18 and it is always best to pick a responsible, well-organised and unbiased person. You can have more than one executor. Find more information about the executor's duties here.

Can the executor of a will also be a beneficiary?

Yes, the executor of your will can also be a beneficiary. This is of course common given that it’s usually a friend or family member that you trust. This person is likely to be someone you’d want to leave a gift to.

It is also okay if you do not wish the executor to be a beneficiary. For this reason some people choose legal professionals to execute their will. Executing a will can be a big task so it is important to consider carefully who you ask to take this on for you.

So what can’t a beneficiary do?

Even though a beneficiary can be the executor of a will and your estate they cannot be a witness when signing your will.

Signing your will in front of witnesses is needed to make it legally valid. Beneficiaries are unable to be a witness as it brings into question the validity of the will.

Is it possible for executor to benefit from a will in other ways?

Some people may have questions about what the executor can do whilst dealing with someone’s will.

The executor can claim back any money that they have to spend to settle the estate. Of course this has to be within reason (shipping costs of sending gifts or the fee for a grant of probate for example).

The executor could also be a professional whose fee is taken from the estate. In cases like this, beneficiaries can ask the professional to renounce their role as the executor.

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