An executor is a person appointed by another in a Will to act in respect of the estate of the testator upon his or her death. The role of the executor is to manage the estate within the terms of the Will and protect the assets of the estate.
In general terms, an executor is responsible for:
- Locating the Will: When the person passes away it is the role of the executor to locate the Will and contact the beneficiaries.
- Look after the estate: The executor ensures that all assets including property and investments are safe and arrange insurance protection when required. The immediate needs of the beneficiaries must be assessed to make sure that they do not suffer any unnecessary financial hardship.
- Value the estate: The executor must identify and account for all assets and liabilities. The value of the assets must be ascertained, often by obtaining valuations from the licensed valuer’s or estimates from recognised sources.
- Apply to the Supreme Court for a Grant of Probate of the last Will: Probate is a formal document that confirms the executor and gives them permission to administer the estate.
- Complete the final income tax return: Before an estate can be distributed, the executor must arrange for the final tax return to be lodged for the deceased with the Australian Taxation Office.
- Dividing the estate: When all debts have been paid, the executor is free to distribute the remaining assets according to the instructions left in the Will.
Being the executor of a Will can be a challenging experience if the executor does not have a level of understanding of estate law and finance. If you are confused or would like peace of mind in regards to your responsibilities as the executor of a Will, a solicitor can help you through the entire process. Our estate lawyers at The Quinn Group can inform you of your rights and responsibilities as the executor and assist in any of the executor’s responsibilities you may need guidance with. Call The Quinn Group on 02 9223 9166 or submit an online enquiry.