I'm an executor of a Will, what are my responsibilities?

Published 01 Apr 2019

Being named as the executor of a Will is often considered a sign of trust. The role is an important one, and comes with many responsibilities. If you're appointed as an executor, it's necessary that you understand what you might one day need to do, should something happen to the owner of the Will.

Here's what you need to know.

What is an executor?

An executor is the person appointed within a Will who is assigned the duty of ensuring that the individual's wishes are carried out according to the document, after they've passed on. You might find yourself the sole executor, or one of many - technically there's no limit on how many the individual can name in their Will. Generally, however, most people won't name more than two.

It's possible to name a trusted solicitor as an executor of a Will. This can help smooth out the proceedings and help ease the responsibilities placed on you after the death of someone you love.

What are the responsibilities of an executor?

The responsibility of administering the deceased's estate falls to you as an executor. Depending on the situation, the complexity of what's involved with doing so varies. A run down of what's expected of you, however, includes:

  • Locating the deceased's Will.
  • Organising the funeral arrangements.
  • Obtaining probate from the Supreme Court if it's required so you can execute the Will.
  • Applying and receiving the death certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
  • Collecting and locating all assets and liabilities.
  • Assessing the value of the deceased's assets.
  • Settling all substantiated debts, income tax, duties and funeral expenses.
  • Determining who the beneficiaries are.
  • Distributing assets to the beneficiaries according to what's laid out within the Will.
  • Preparation and lodgment of any final tax returns.
  • Defending any litigation raised against the proceedings.

In undertaking these duties, you need to ensure that you're complying with the various laws and regulations that are placed around an executor's role.

Do I have to be an executor?

You are not required to act as an executor if you do not wish to take on the responsibility. If you are asked to take on the role, you can decline the position. After the individual has passed away, you can step down from your duties by filing a renunciation with the registry. At this point you'll need to appoint another appropriate individual, beneficiary or trustee to take your place.

If you need assistance with managing your responsibilities as an executor of a Will, make sure you reach out to the expert team at Malouf Solicitors today. 

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

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