An executor is an individual named in a Will to carry out the wishes of a person after they pass. It is important to choose the right executor as they are required to perform many important tasks, either themselves or by engaging professionals with the relevant expertise (e.g. solicitors, accountants etc.).
Some of the tasks an executor may be required to perform includes:
- Locating the most recent, original Will and any codicil which amends the Will;
- Locating other important documentation (e.g. title deeds, insurance policies etc.);
- Following any funeral instructions in the Will;
- Notifying Centrelink or Veterans Affairs if you were receiving the pension;
- Obtaining the death certificate (this is usually ordered by the funeral director). The death certificate is usually required to:
- Claim on superannuation death benefits;
- Claim on insurance policies;
- Draw on the deceased’s bank account.
- Securing the assets of the estate;
- Calculating the net value of the estate. This will involve:
- Identifying and accounting for all assets and liabilities;
- Obtaining written confirmation assets and their values from the relevant institutions (e.g. banks, insurance companies, share registries etc.);
- Where necessary, ascertaining the value of assets either by obtaining a valuation or an estimate.
- Obtaining probate of the Will (this authorises the executor to deal with an estate);
- Engaging an accountant to complete income tax returns for the deceased and the Estate.
- Paying out all debts (e.g. funeral expenses, income tax, fees for administrating the estate etc.);
- Distributing the remaining assets in accordance with the Will; and
- Establishing and managing any ongoing testamentary trusts.
Prior to choosing your executor you should consider whether the individual will have the time and/or the expertise to undertake the above tasks.
Many individuals are appointing their solicitor as one of their executors to ensure that the whole process runs smoothly. This is because solicitors have the relevant expertise and experience in administering estates.
If you would like to any further information in relation to the above, please contact our team of lawyers at The Quinn Group on (02) 9223 9166 or submit an online enquiry form today.