Who or what is an executor of an estate?
An executor of an estate is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased person. Essentially, they manage the estate according to the outline of the Will. For example, the executor of estate can organise the funeral, locate and identify the Will, apply to the Supreme Court for probate, determine the beneficiaries, inventory, value and collect all assets, pay insurances on assets, pay any outstanding debts, manage accounts, prepare and lodge tax forms, defend the estate against claimants and distribute the assets according to the Will.
If there are any mistakes made by the executor of an estate in administering the estate, they can actually be liable for the financial losses to the estate, for example, where insurances have not been paid and fire burns down a building (which is an asset of the deceased). You can however, refuse to be named as an executor of an estate and ask the Public Trustee to administer the estate. Once you accept the responsibility however, it is often difficult to remove yourself from the role, but it can be done.
Preparing your Will
Here are a few ways that we at McLaughlin & Associates can help you in preparing your Will:-
- Make sure your Will is valid – that is, properly drawn up, correctly signed and witnessed.
- Make sure your wishes are clearly set out.
- Make sure that you have made adequate provision for your spouse and children, including who should be legal guardian of your children.
- Advise you on choosing an Executor, Trustee and Guardian.
- Discuss relevant Tax Laws.
- Advise on the possibility of claims against your estate and avoid or limit disputes between remaining family members.
- Avoid the problems with intestacy – the imposition of a State appointed Administrator applying pre-determined rules to the disposition of your assets.
- Keep you Will in safe custody free of charge.