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If you’ve been named as an Executor in a Will, chances are that this is a job that you are not looking forward to.

Losing someone is hard enough, but having to face the practical reality of the matter once they are gone can seem overwhelming.

If you are the Executor of a loved one’s estate, let us help you through this difficult time and get the legal steps out of the way, so you can concentrate on your happy memories.

What does being named as an Executor in a Will mean?

If you have been appointed as the Executor (or one of them) in someone’s Will, you have been given the responsibility to manage their estate according to the terms of their Will.

You also have the job of protecting their assets under the various laws and rules that govern estate administration in South Australia.

Executor Duties

An executor’s duties may include responsibilities such as:

  • Organising the funeral, notices for the paper and flowers
  • Locating the Will
  • Obtaining a copy of the Death Certificate
  • Making sure any property and assets are safe and secure
  • Determining the value of assets
  • Applying for Probate
  • Paying insurance policies, debts and taxes
  • Collecting monies belonging to the deceased from financial institutions and insurance companies
  • Collecting debts owed to the deceased
  • Lodging tax returns for the deceased and for the estate
  • Selling properties and assets
  • Reporting to beneficiaries
  • Distributing the proceeds of the estate to beneficiaries
  • Setting up trusts

This all seems like a huge responsibility, and it certainly can’t be taken lightly, but we can provide you with advice and support all the way through and prepare all the documents necessary to complete the administration of the estate.

Do Executors get paid?

It depends. If you are a beneficiary of the will it is presumed that your benefit will cover your costs. If you’re not a beneficiary then you can apply to the Supreme Court for commission.

Am I responsible for any costs?

Estates vary in complexity and Executor’s duties can be complicated, so it may be a good idea to get advice from a lawyer.

The cost of legal advice is usually covered by the estate, not the Executors.

What if I’m not up to the job?

Just because you have been named an Executor doesn’t mean you have to accept the responsibility.

If there is another Executor named, they can take on the whole of the job, or if you are the sole executor you can apply to the court to appoint someone else.

You cannot change your mind later though – giving up the responsibility is final.

Contact us to find out more or to arrange an appointment.


Image: St Paul’s Cemetary by jon collier via Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

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