An executor’s responsibilities may include:
- Notifying the beneficiaries that the will-maker (testator) has died and that the estate is to be distributed.
- Locating and collecting all of the assets of the estate.
- Determining the value of the estate.
- Paying any debts, including funeral expenses, loans, income tax and fees for administering the estate. This may require you to sell some of the assets.
- Distributing the remainder of the assets to the beneficiaries (this may include setting up trusts for minor or mentally incapable beneficiaries).
To carry out these duties, the executor may need to get legal authorisation, called a grant of probate from the Supreme Court of South Australia.
To protect the interests of those who hold the deceased’s assets (for example, a bank), the executor may be asked to prove they are authorised to administer the estate before the assets can be released. The grant of probate is the proof required.
Being an executor involves more than just distributing someone’s wealth, and some estates can be complicated. If you are unsure about what the role involves, a lawyer can help you.