What is an executor?
An executor is a person nominated in a Will to administer an estate when someone passes. If you are appointed as an executor, you are essentially responsible for making sure their wishes are carried out, as outlined in their Will.
If a Will was not created by the deceased, usually the next of kin is entitled to be the ‘administrator’ of the estate.
Duties of an executor
If you are appointed as an executor, you are responsible for locating the Will, notifying beneficiaries and acting in the best interest of the beneficiaries involved.
A significant part of your role involves determining the assets and liabilities of the estate and protecting any relevant assets. This includes ensuring that insurance has been taken out on properties or defending the estate against legal action. You’ll need to create a complete picture of the deceased assets and liabilities which involves identifying any debtors and creditors.
One of the most complex elements of being an executor is applying for a grant of probate with the Supreme Court. A grant of probate provides executors with the legal right to deal with the deceased’s assets. When dealing with third parties, a copy of the grant of probate can be used to prove that you are an executor and therefore have the legal right to make decisions regarding the assets of the estate.
Lastly, you will need to distribute estate assets and pay any liabilities in accordance with the Will. This may involve dealing with any real estate sale that is part of the estate.
Does an executor need professional support?
You don’t necessarily need to seek professional advice to act as an executor. However, if there are complexities involved such as debts, or certain parties wanting to challenge the Will, we recommend seeking legal support. If executors fail to comply, they can be personally liable for any losses so getting expert advice will provide peace of mind during a challenging time.
If you have been assigned as an executor, APS Wills and Estates are here to help you make the process as seamless as possible. Have confidence that everything is in order, knowing that you have trusted legal support. Get in touch to learn more.