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All you need to know about executors

What does my executor do?

Your executor is the person you nominate in your Will to administer your estate and carry out your wishes upon your death.  The duties of an executor include the following:

  • taking charge of and protecting your assets;
  • making arrangements for your funeral;
  • satisfying all interested parties including the beneficiaries named in your Will;
  • if necessary, obtaining an authority to administer your estate in the form of a Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court;
  • paying funeral expenses and any debts of your estate;
  • finalising income tax returns; and
  • selling or distributing your assets according to the directions in your Will.

Who should be my executor?

Your executor does not need any special qualifications, but you should choose someone reliable. Your executor is not bound to act for you so it is wise to talk the matter over with them first.

If your chosen executor requires professional assistance, he or she can engage a lawyer or other professionals when the time comes.

The choice of executor is entirely up to you but the following points may help you decide:

  • If you are leaving everything in your Will to one person only (such as your spouse) it makes sense to appoint that person as your executor.
  • If you are leaving everything to your children in the event that your spouse dies before you, then consider appointing one or more of your children (over the age of 18) as your alternative executor.
  • You can appoint a trusted family friend or relative.
  • You may make a direction in your Will that your executor engage lawyers such as Birman & Ride to assist them in the administration of the estate.

You can appoint a professional executor such as the Public Trustee, a trustee company or a firm of solicitors such as Birman & Ride.

Should I appoint a professional executor?

Sometimes there are advantages to having a professional executor:

  • your family will not have to make many decisions about your affairs and much of the work will be done for them;
  • the executor will have all of the skills necessary to wind up the estate quickly; and
  • the executor will be independent and impartial if a dispute arises.
Birman & Ride

If you would like to have a professional executor we can act on your behalf and administer your estate in an independent and professional manner. You may appoint us to act as your executor jointly with trusted family friends or relatives.

Trustee Companies and the Public Trustee

Trustee companies, including banks, offer Wills appointing themselves as your executor. When you die they administer your estate and deduct a fee which, in many cases, is calculated as a percentage of your estate.

The Public Trustee offers a substantial discount on the fee for preparing your Will if you appoint him as your executor. When you die he charges for estate administration on a fee for service basis.

 

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