What does an executor do?

Date: Apr 17, 2014

When it comes to estate planning, having the right person or persons in charge of your will is as crucial to having one written in the first place. It can help limit the stress on the family, while the executor provides the stability needed to sort out important tasks. They can also help manage a challenge of the will and sort out any disputes that may arise.

This can mean the sole executor should not always be a member of the family because they can get swept up with the emotions of the situation.This isn't a bad thing, but it is recommended that an additional person is named as an executor. A lawyer is a good example of someone who is independent of the family and already knows where to find some of the things they need upon the death. The family member also has to be prepared to manage the will and live long enough to do so. 

The team of a lawyer and a family member is an excellent choice for executing a will. The lawyer can handle the financial and technical side, while the family member can provide a personal insight into clarifying some of the contents of a will.

The executor is different to the Power of Attorney. The Power of Attorney is automatically dissolved at the time of death at which time the executor takes over. They can be the same person, but can't be in place at the same time.

There are many different jobs a executor must perform which are crucial to the smooth running of events. According to the NSW state library, the executor is responsible for:

  • Finding the physical version of a will. It would be useful to tell someone where your will is when estate planning.
  • Carrying out the arrangement for the body.
  • Obtaining the death certificate from the registry.
  • Ascertaining and assessing the deceased's assets and liabilities. 
  • Getting the probate which allows the executor to distribute the assets to will recipients. 
  • Payment of any debts and expenses. It is important to have the lawyer involved here so any disputes can be resolved swiftly.

If at least one executor knows about your personal life and financial situation in depth, then it will be much easier for them to administer your estate.

This becomes crucial if there are trusts involved for beneficiaries who aren't old enough to claim them. Then the executor must look after these trusts until the beneficiaries reach the given age.

When estate planning, Craddock Murray Neumann can help you to choose the right executor and also assist in writing your will.