Are you an Executor pursuant to the terms of a Will?
Have you been chosen by a family member or friend to be the Executor of their Will? This means that you have been given responsibility to manage their estate according to the terms they’ve outlined in their Will and to protect their assets under the various laws and rules that govern estate administration in South Australia.
An executor’s duties may include responsibilities such as:
- Organising the funeral, notices for the paper, flowers
- Locating the Will
- Obtaining a copy of the Death Certificate
- Ensuring property and assets are safe and secure
- Determining the value of assets
- Applying for Probate
- Paying insurance policies, debts and taxes
- Collecting money belonging of 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
- Administering the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will
Being an Executor can be overwhelming, particularly when you are grieving, but rest assured we can guide you through the process.
Do I need a Lawyer?
Estates vary in complexity and an Executor’s duties can be complicated, so it would be a good idea to get advice and assistance from a lawyer. The cost of legal advice is usually covered by the estate, not the Executors personally.
What is Probate?
Probate is recognition of the Will’s validity and permission from the Supreme Court for the Executors named in the Will to carry out their duties in relation to the Estate. You will likely need a grant of Probate to deal with the assets of an estate, such as selling property and obtaining bank funds.
What if there is no Will?
This situation is referred to as intestacy and the law determines how assets will be distributed after debts have been paid. If you are a spouse or child of the deceased, you can apply for Letters of Administration, which will give you authority to finalise the estate.
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 role themselves, or if you are the sole executor you can apply to the court to appoint someone else.