- The appointment by a will maker of a solicitor as his or her executor is infrequent, but not uncommon.
- Complications arise where the appointment of the solicitor is in their professional capacity.
- If the solicitor wishes to ensure that the appointment gives rise to remuneration for his or her practice, significant legal and ethical issues arise.
- The process needs to be approached with great care.
At law, the role of executor is a gratuitous one in the absence of special arrangements for remuneration.
Where a solicitor seeks remuneration for fulfilling such a role, it is not without its pitfalls and risks. Some solicitors have faced misconduct proceedings and Lawcover claims while others have had their claims for commission and/or charges disallowed or substantially reduced by the Supreme Court.
Any practitioner seeking remuneration for taking on the role of executor should be aware of all of the legal and ethical complexities. As a starting point, it is self-evident that any solicitor seeking remuneration for executorial duties should be offering genuine professional expertise in that area of practice.