Are you an Executor?

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 Western Australia.

Executor Duties

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
  • Making sure any property and assets are safe and secure
  • Determining the value of assets
  • Applying for Probate
  • Paying insurance policies, debts and taxes
  • Collecting monies belonging to 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

Being an Executor can be overwhelming, particularly when you are grieving, but we can guide you through.

Do I need a Lawyer?

Estates vary in complexity and Executor’s duties can be complicated, so it may be a good idea to get advice from a lawyer. The cost of legal advice is usually covered by the estate, not the Executor.

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 I’m not up to the job?

Just because you have been named an Executor does not mean you have to accept the responsibility. You should contact an experienced lawyer in this area of law to discuss the role of the Executor and your options.

What if there is no Will?

This situation is referred to as intestacy.  The Administration Act 1903 (WA) determines how assets will be distributed after debts have been paid. The formula provided in the Act sets out who is entitled to inherit the estate and can be complicated and confusing. In circumstances where there is no Will, Letters of Administration (rather than Probate) can be obtained by someone such as a child or spouse of the deceased, who will then have the authority to deal with the estate.

Contact us to find out more or to arrange an appointment.