I am an executor of a Will. What do I do?

Being named as an executor and administering an estate (the person’s assets) can be very daunting, especially at a time when you are grieving.

So what does an executor do?

The duties of an executor change depending on the size and complexity of the estate and the relationships, diversity and number of beneficiaries. In general some of the executor’s responsibilities include: 

  • locating the Will of the deceased
  • applying  to the Supreme Court for a grant of probate
  • contacting all beneficiaries of the estate and managing their expectations
  • protecting assets by securing them and maintaining insurance policies
  • confirming the estate’s assets and liabilities, and liaising with banks, investment companies and life insurance companies
  • lodging  tax returns and date of death return
  • managing property, including managing the sale of property, and ensuring income received from assets and capital gains taxes payments are made, and
  • managing and distributing payments to beneficiaries. 

 Common pitfalls executors should avoid:

  • Finalising the estate too soon

    After you have started to distribute payments or assets to beneficiaries, someone may contest the Will. A six month window applies for anyone to contest a Will, so it is important not to distribute assets of the estate too soon as funds already distributed to beneficiaries are very difficult to recoup 

  • Outstanding debts

    Adhering to all tax and creditor accounts for deceased estates can be complex and sometimes debts can be overlooked. Again, if the estate has already been distributed and tax liabilities or outstanding creditors have not been paid, the executor may be personally responsible.

  • Uninsured damaged assets

    Costs of damage to assets where insurance policies have not been maintained can become your responsibility if not covered by the estate before finalisation.

  • Managing conflict between beneficiaries

    Adhering to all tax and creditor accounts for deceased estates can be complex and sometimes debts can be overlooked. Again, if the estate has already been distributed and tax liabilities or outstanding creditors have not been paid, the executor may be personally responsible.

How can we help you? 

Many people are time poor today, and although you may want to help, it may be difficult to manage the executor responsibilities on your own or dedicate the extra time without some expert help.

If you need assistance, or maybe you are unsure of where to begin, you can trust the Public Trustee to support you through the process. 

The Public Trustee supports more than 50,000 Queenslanders each year during some of their most difficult times.

Our specialist Trust Officers provide impartial advice and can assist you to carry out your duties as an executor or take on the role of the executor and provide full administration estate services, if you prefer.

The Public Trustee of Queensland has 103 years of experience and is Queensland’s leading estate administrator. We offer end to end services including: 

  • managing the sale of properties (the Public Trustee is a registered and successful real estate agent)
  • conveyancing and solicitor duties
  • processing settlements, and
  • facilitating all payments.

For more information on the Public Trustee’s services, or to book an appointment for a Will or enduring power of attorney service, visit our website, or phone 1300 360 044.

Last published: 20/01/2020 11:55:13 PM