I’ve been named executor, what do I do?
Before you start, make sure you understand what’s involved, because it can be more difficult (and expensive) to hand things over after you’ve begun.
Also, be aware:
- you can be held personally liable if something goes wrong while you're handling the estate
- this is likely to take at least 7 months, often longer, due to needing to, by law, wait at least 6 months before you can distribute the assets.
What an executor does
Executors must follow the steps outlined in the Succession Act 1981.
Among other things, this usually includes:
- obtaining probate (the legal authority to handle the estate) from the Supreme Court of Queensland
- This involves advertising, and lodging paperwork with the Supreme Court. (The Public Trustee can do this for you for a fee.)
- locating and notifying beneficiaries
- verifying and protecting assets
- confirming insurance of assets
- collecting valuables and income
- determining and paying debts and liabilities
- preparing tax returns
- obtaining income tax clearances
- transferring assets
- preparing financial statements and distributing the estate.
There’s a lot involved, and you may wish to hand over duties to a solicitor or the Public Trustee.