• Sally Davies – Senior Associate

What’s an Executor?

An Executor is appointed in a Will to ensure that all of the deceased’s debts are paid and that their assets are distributed in accordance with the Will. Does an executor get paid? Not usually. That said, a Will can nominate an amount you’re to be paid in return for acting as Executor or state that you’re to be paid for your time spent in administering the estate. If the Will doesn’t provide for payment, you can apply to the Supreme Court for a “commission”; however, this is not usually approved if you are also a beneficiary under the Will.

What if you don’t want to be the Executor? You can apply to the Supreme Court of NSW to renounce your position; however, this must occur before you have completed any of the Executor’s duties as otherwise this may not be approved.

What does the Executor do? In general terms, the Executor will need to:

  • Determine location and value of the deceased’s assets;

  • Apply for a Grant of Probate (this is a Court order which confirms the Will is valid and formally appoints Executor);

  • Arrange for the release of the deceased’s assets and payment of estate debts and expenses (after Probate has been granted);

  • Prepare a distribution statement showing the funds that have been in your control and how they are to be disbursed; and

  • Distribute the assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the will.

If someone dies and you find yourself appointed their executor, we recommend you seek advice from a solicitor. Administering an estate can be complex and it’s important to get it right as you can be held personally responsible if you make mistakes.

This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

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