If you are the executor of an estate, the first thing you will have to do is make an inventory of property that lists everything the deceased owned, payments or assets entitled to them and any outstanding debts or taxes that require payment.
Once you have a complete list, the executor must apply for a grant of probate. Probate confirms that the Will is valid and that as the executor, you have the right to administer the estate. After probate is granted, the executor has several responsibilities.
This guide covers the steps the executor needs to take after receiving.
Steps After Probate is Granted
After the court grants Probate, there are four steps that every executor should take when managing an estate.
- Paying expenses and debts
Once you receive a grant of probate from the Supreme Court, you have to pay any expenses and debts of the deceased’s estate before you can distribute any assets. You also need to open a bank account in the estate's name.
All funds from bank accounts and the sale of any assets owed to the estate go into this account. You must pay the estate’s debts in the following order:
- Funeral expenses (you can usually pay these before probate)
- Administration expenses (e.g. legal costs in obtaining probate)
- Outstanding tax, including income tax and capital gains tax
- Other debts
As the executor, you are liable to pay the deceased's taxes, including income tax. Assets may also be subject to capital gains tax, so it’s important to determine the date and cost when the deceased acquired the asset.
- Prepare a distribution report
After paying the deceased’s debts and selling assets, you need to prepare a distribution report. This report details the deceased's assets, what debts you paid, and how much money you sold each asset for. You must give each beneficiary a copy of the report when you distribute their share of the estate.
- Distribute the assets
After paying debts, selling assets and finalising the distribution report, you can now give the deceased’s money and possessions away in line with their Will. This step must be six months after the deceased died. You should also publish a notice to notify anyone who has a claim against the estate to inform you of the details within 30 days.
What if there’s no Will?
When a person dies without a Will, it’s known as dying intestate. Each state and territory has specific rules to distribute the estate of a deceased should they die without a Will. Typically, the Supreme Court will appoint a person to act as administrator of the estate.
The most likely person the court will appoint as the estate administrator is the person’s Next of Kin. However, it’s far more complicated to distribute an estate when there’s no Will, so to protect your family and loved ones, start writing your Will online.
After probate is granted, the executor's role involves crucial steps. These steps include paying debts, selling assets, distributing the estate, and ensuring that the wishes of the Will are honoured.
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