Frequently asked questions about executors

Published 13 Jun 2017

Appointing an executor is one of the many important tasks you must undertake when managing your estate. While you do not have to have one, an executor can take an pivotal role in ensuring your belongings are dealt with the way you want after your death. To get you off to a good start, here are some of the most common questions people have about executors and part they play in avoiding problems such as will disputes in the future.

What does an executor do?

There are a number of duties that an executor can undertake, and their responsibilities may span not just the administration of the estate itself but many other tasks following the passing of the deceased. 

Depending on the specific circumstances, the role may include:

  • Making funeral arrangements for the deceased
  • Locating the will
  • Identifying beneficiaries and notifying them about the will
  • Taking a full inventory of the deceased's estate
  • Applying to the court for Probate
  • Addressing any tax returns as required
  • Distributing the deceased's estate according to the will.

What if they don't want the job?

While you may ask whoever you want to be the executor of your estate, the person you choose does have the right to turn down the job if they do not feel inclined or able to take it on. If this happens, you may decide to choose an alternative person to be the executor. The executor may also change their mind about the role at a later date, even if they had agreed to the responsibility earlier. To do this, they will need to sign a renunciation and file it with the court. 

If an estate has no executor, the court will select a person to administer it, often one of the biggest beneficiaries in the will. 

Can an executor be disputed?

There are several circumstance where there may be disputes surrounding the executor. For instance, if the deceased has appointed more than one executor, they may not work together when applying for probate which could lead to one individual having to proceed on their own. In the case that a beneficiary disagrees with how the executor is managing the estate, the executor has failed to fulfill their duties properly or they have acted fraudulently, the court may see this as grounds to remove the executor from the role.

Just like every stage of writing a will and estate management, appointing the right executor is a crucial factor in the outcome of your estate after you die. Make sure you get it right and seek the guidance of an experienced Parramatta Lawyer today.

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

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