When a loved one passes away it is a terribly emotional time for you and your family. It can be even more emotional, confusing and overwhelming if you have been named an Executor in the Will as you do not know much about estate administration.
- What does it mean to be named as Executor of the Will?
- What is the role / responsibilities of the Executor?
- What do you do next?
- What is Probate? Do you need to obtain Probate? How?
The role of an Executor can be summarised into the following steps:-
- Identify the assets and liabilities to administer the Estate;
- Obtain Probate / Letters of Administration (if required);
- Realise the assets and pay the liabilities;
- Prepare income tax returns (if required);
- Distribute the balance of the Estate to the Beneficiaries.
As Executor, you must contact all relevant banks, financial institutions and Government departments to complete the necessary documentation to have the assets of the estate transferred to you as Executor for sale or distribution to the nominated Beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the Will. The Executor has a duty to protect the assets of the estate and to maximise the value of the estate for the benefit of the Beneficiaries.
All estate liabilities must also be paid prior to the distribution of assets to the Beneficiaries.
While the process is straightforward, the reality is that it can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially during times of grieving.
If there is an error in administering the Estate, you (as the Executor) may be held responsible regardless of whether the error was made on purpose or by accident. In some cases, the Executor may be personally responsible for the assets and financial loss to the estate.
You may prefer to rely on our expertise and resources to ensure that the estate administration is handled as smoothly as possible. Our role is to work with and assist the Executor to understand and execute their role in a timely manner. Understanding your rights and the duties of the role is important. This is especially true if you are confronted with a situation where someone is Contesting a Will.
Some family circumstances and situations can make estate administration very complex, especially where there are blended families.