New research from QualitySolicitors, a network of over 100 locations nationwide, highlights confusion amongst Brits if they are asked to become an executor of a will.

It reveals that more than a third (35%) of the over 40s, the likeliest age group to be appointed as an executor, don’t know what the term probate means, with 14% thinking it is the trial period you go through when starting a new job. 

The survey of 1,000 people aged 40 plus across the UK, shows that more than two fifths (42%) have been appointed as an executor – the person in charge of sorting out an estate  – yet one in five (21%) weren’t aware of the extent of the role before they accepted and two thirds (68%) wouldn’t have a clue where to start.

This lack of knowledge is putting additional strain on those taking on the role of an executor for the first time.  One fifth said they found the experience to be emotional and stressful and 19% said it was incredibly time consuming. The research found that one in ten people now feel obliged to offer an incentive to a future executor, such as promising them a greater proportion of their estate, to help persuade them to take on the burden.

Gill Bowskill, Probate expert at QualitySolicitors comments: “Settling probate and being appointed as an executor of a will does not have to be as daunting as it first seems.  There are simple steps you can take, which, alongside expert advice, can help ensure the best possible outcome in terms of the emotional and time commitment.  One of these involves not ‘putting one’s head in the sand’ once being appointed, but spending time with the person who appointed you to manage their affairs to ensure that their wishes are followed to the letter. At QualitySolicitors, we offer free initial assessment, so would urge anyone who is unsure of anything, to give us a call to find out how we can help you.” 

QualitySolicitors has produced some advice to help guide people through the probate process and give tips on what to be if you are appointed someone’s executor, available here:

For further information, please contact:

Heidi Jutton        020 7680 6589 /

Kate Matthews          020 7680 6597 /