Have you been named as an Executor of a will and are not quite sure what you have to do or what your obligations are? Not to worry. Chamberlains have compiled a list of our Executor FAQs – read on!
What is an Executor?
An Executor is a person appointed in a Will to administer the estate of the will-maker (the will-maker is often referred to as the ‘testator’).
Do Executors get paid?
Most Executors do not get paid for their work as they do it voluntarily, often as family members. The testator may sometimes leave a sum of money in their Will to the Executor for their efforts, but if they do not, the Executor will have to apply to the court for a payment. However, all Executors’ are entitled to be reimbursed for any money they spend on behalf of the estate (e.g. funeral costs).
How old does an Executor have to be?
An Executor can be any person who is aged 18 years and over.
As an Executor, can I see the Will before the person dies?
The Executor has no right to read the Will prior to the death of the testator. However, as many Executors are family members, the testator may discuss the Will with or read the Will to the Executor prior to their passing.
Do I have to do be an Executor if I am appointed in the Will?
No. If you do not want to be an Executor you can turn down the responsibility. You may wish to ask the Public Trustee to administer the estate instead.
Can you be the Executor and a beneficiary in a Will?
Yes. Often the main beneficiary is one of the Executors. For example, is quite common for a spouse to be the main beneficiary and also executor in their partner’s Wills.
What does an Executor need to do when someone dies?
In most cases, an Executor will need to:
- Apply for a death certificate
- Find documents relating to assets of the deceased;
- Engage a solicitor (like HKH!);
- Apply for probate (if needed);
- Notify interested parties such as banks, Centrelink etc.;
- Manage the deceased’s property (utilities etc.);
- Arrange to ‘call in’ the deceased’s assets, such as selling property, closing bank accounts etc;
- Pay valid debts owed by the deceased (e.g. rates, medical fees, personal loans);
- File estate tax returns; and
- Distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.
If the estate involves any litigation the executor is also responsible for seeking legal advice and acting on behalf of the estate in Court.
Chamberlains can assist with any and all of the above. If you’re an Executor after some advice, get in touch with us today.
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