An executor of a Will in Australia is a person/people chosen by a Will-maker to carry out their final wishes after they pass away. The executor can be a partner, spouse, lawyer, trustee or the person’s adult children, and it’s really important that the Will-maker chooses someone they trust.
If you’ve been named as the executor of the estate, there are a bunch of executor duties you’ll have to carry out. Depending on the complexity of the estate, the role of the executor includes admin tasks, organising the funeral, distributing the estate and finalising the estate.
Here are 12 steps that might help you navigate your role as executor.
- Locate the Will.
- You’ll need to release money from the deceased’s bank account to pay for the funeral, and ensure that any funeral requests are carried out.
- Make an inventory of all estate liabilities and assets, and ensure those assets are secure, insured where appropriate, and protected from theft, damage and any kind of deterioration.
- Apply to the Supreme Court to be granted authority to administer the estate.
- Identify the beneficiaries. Our modern lives might make this a bit more complicated than expected. Overseas beneficiaries, blended families and relationship complexities, complications and breakdowns sometimes impact on an executor’s ability to objectively determine all beneficiaries.
- Value all estate assets. You can do this by contacting banks, accountants, share brokers, etc.
- You’ll need to give notice of death to all potential claimants against the estate. If a claim is received, then you’ll need to decide whether or not to pay it.
- Manage any disputes that may arise and/or litigation.
- The estate represents a separate tax paying entity, so as the executor you’ll need to apply for its tax file number, and lodge a tax return each year the estate receives income.
- Distribute the estate.
Sometimes, outsourcing the role of executor can save family members the heartache of fulfilling the role. Here at Willed, we now offer professional executor services through Australian Unity. Simply select the option when you get upto that step in writing your Will.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice.