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How to help your family – is it possible to do probate before you die?

Clients often worry that their families may be left with a lot of paperwork when they die. They worry about the perceived burden that the job of Executor may involve. The Executor is the person who deals with the administration of someone’s estate when they die. It can be a big job. It is certainly important that the person you appoint in your Will for this task is someone you trust and that you feel you can rely upon to look after your beneficiaries’ best interests. You can make life as easy as possible for your Executor (who may find the job tough-going emotionally, given that they only start work on this when you die) in your lifetime.

The main way you can help your Executor is to be as organised as possible regarding your affairs. This could include:-

  1. Keep your Will up to date and ensure that your Executor knows where the original document is plus any copies.
  2. Keep a list of assets and liabilities in an easy to find location or tell your Executor where you have stored; most solicitors should be happy to keep such a list  with your Will and this could be of great assistance at a difficult time.
  3. If you appoint more than one Executor, ensure that you are pragmatic in your approach. It would be advisable to only appoint people that are likely to work well together. Make sure you ask your person (or people) of choice before you appoint them.
  4. If you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in your lifetime, ensure that the attorney knows his/her role comes to an end at the time of your death. Often an attorney and Executor are the same person, but the roles are different and should not be confused.
  5. Ensure that any amendments to your Will are executed properly; any letters of wishes are non-binding so only for information for your Executor. If you want a ‘wish’ to be legally binding then this must be included within a properly executed Will.

If you wish to discuss your Will or have found yourself taking on the role as someone’s Executor, Rebecca Reid at Illuminate Legal would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Rebecca Reid, Illuminate Legal Limited, Odiham, Hampshire

Phone: 07508 082415 or email


Rebecca Reid

Author Rebecca Reid

She is an experienced and well-regarded private client specialist solicitor providing high quality legal advice in the field of Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Probate and Elderly Client issues.

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