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Can I appoint my beneficiary as my executor?

November 13, 2023

A beneficiary is the person who will benefit under your Will, and who will inherit your estate after you die. It can be anyone from your spouse, children, friends or even charities. You can leave different types of gifts to beneficiaries, whether monetary gifts, gifts of specific items, or a portion of your estate once your debts and any other expenses have been paid.

An executor is the person who will look after your estate and administer it once you pass away. It can be anyone from family members to solicitors.

Executors will be the people to correspond with anyone involved in, or set to inherit from the estate, they will settle any debts and distribute the assets.

Can a beneficiary be named as an Executor?

People often name their spouse as their sole executor and beneficiary in the first instance, and it is perfectly legal to do so. Some people may name their spouse as executor and then children as their beneficiaries.  It is important to think about who you would like to benefit from and who you trust to administer your estate. Your chosen executor doesn’t have to act if they do not wish to, however it can be an onerous role, so it is important you speak to them to ensure they are happy to take on the responsibility.

Can a beneficiary witness a Will?

For a Will to be valid it must be witnessed by two independent witnesses. They are there to ensure that you are the same person making the Will as signing it, and that you haven’t been coerced into signing the document. They are also there to confirm that the person making the Will has mental capacity to sign and that they understand what they are doing.  If there is ever any doubt over the validity of the Will, the witnesses could be called upon to give evidence. They must give their name, occupation and address, but do not need to read the Will or know what is in it.

A beneficiary should not witness a Will, as this will mean that the beneficiary is no longer entitled to their inheritance. It is important you pick two witnesses who are independent and impartial. Spouses or civil partners of beneficiaries or the person making the Will also cannot witness Wills.

You should refuse to witness a Will if the person signing the Will is not the person making it, or if you think they are being coerced into signing the Will, or if you think the person making the Will lacks the mental capacity to do so.

If you have any further questions or would like to instruct us to make a Will on your behalf, please call our Solihull office on 0121 705 7571 or our Dorridge office on 01564 779393

Uzma Rasool
Trainee Solicitor – Wills & Probate Department

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.