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Legal Tip 110: What does the Executor of a Will do?

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by Terry_w, 17th Dec, 2015.

  1. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    What does the Executor of a Will do?

    Agreeing to become an executor of a will is a serious job. It is a good idea to ask a friend, with a bit of ability, to become your executor when you draw up a will. Have 2 back ups too just in case.


    Being an executor of someone’s will means you will have various duties to administer the estate for the deceased and the beneficiaries. Some of the things the executor will need to do are:

    - Arrange for the funeral. However often the funeral is over before the executor is formally appointed.

    - Locating the will. If you know you are the executor you should locate the latest version of the will of the deceased.

    - Once the will is found an application for probate needs to be made

    - Once probate has been granted the executor needs to ascertain the assets of the deceased and collect small items of property;

    - The deceased’s liabilities at the date of death need to be paid.

    - The deceased’s tax return needs to be done

    - Beneficiaries named in the will need to be found and notified (which may not be easy in some cases)

    - Assets must be distributed in accordance with the will

    - The executor may also be the trustee and have to hold assets for beneficiaries such as minor children of the deceased

    - Apply for a TFN for the estate and do estate tax returns until it is finalising

    - The executor also has a duty to defend any claims against the estate such as family provision claims, claims that the will is invalid etc
     
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  2. moyjos

    moyjos Well-Known Member

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    My daughter is the executor of our wills. She tells us that she cannot wait to Execute us!!! :eek::eek: ummm not that kind of execute :rolleyes:
     
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  3. KateAshmor

    KateAshmor Victorian conveyancing lawyer Business Member

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    A couple of other important points:

    There's a duty to protect the assets of the estate. This means the executor must take out insurance, secure property, invest cash and otherwise act to preserve the integrity of the estate, in favour of beneficiaries.

    Executors are not paid for their work, according to ancient trust law. Corporate executors (State Trustees etc) and lawyers may charge commission, under strict circumstances.

    Any beneficiary is entitled to receive a copy of the deceased's will from the executor. Aged care providers are NOT entitled to (as opposed to powers of attorney).
     
  4. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    Executors can be paid by having a clause in the will, but they would be taxed on any payment as it will be income. If you want to pay an executor you might want to structure a gift to them instead.
     
  5. balwoges

    balwoges Well-Known Member

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    Being an executor of a will is a big responsibility, I did it for my late son, the beneficiary was a minor who was a 6yr old child at the time. Her mother did everything she could to extract money from me and eventually after 10 yrs and a lot of thought I placed the matter in the hands of the Public Trustee.
    I invested the money, kept the books, filed a tax return through my accountant and have never received any thanks - its just trouble for someone who is a family member, much better to have a professional take care of these matters.
     
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  6. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    Being an executor is very serious. One slip up and you are personally liable. If someone asked me to be an executor I would say no, unless immediate family.
     
  7. sanj

    sanj Well-Known Member

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    I recently said yes to someone but shes like a 2nd aunt to me and we both trust eachbother implicitly, in day to day life and financially too.