The person or entity you choose to be responsible and personally liable for the entire administration of your estate is called an ‘executor’.
What are some of the duties of an executor?
The executor has responsibility to:
- obtain formal authorisation to administer the estate from the Supreme Court
- collect all the assets
- meet any liabilities
- lodge tax returns
- distribute gifts, legacies and the residuary estate under the terms of the will
- establish trusts
- account to the beneficiaries
It is an executor’s responsibility to ensure that the administration of the estate, once commenced, is continuous and completed within a reasonable time.
What are the risks?
The role of executor can involve issues such as:
- dealing with claims against the validity of the will
- conflict between beneficiaries
- failure to identify and/or protect an asset
- claims by people unhappy with the will
- claims by creditors
- taxation issues
An executor is personally liable for errors which occur during the administration of the estate.
What if you are named as an executor?
You are not legally obliged to accept the appointment as executor. You may choose to renounce your responsibility as executor and seek to have another individual, The Public Trustee or a trustee company appointed in your place. However, once an executor starts to administer an estate, it is said that they have intermeddled. Once an executor has intermeddled, it is often not possible to renounce.
If you have been appointed as an executor or have questions about your Will and would like to book an appointment to prepare your estate plan with one of our experienced solicitors, call the Public Trustee on 1800 068 784 or visit www.publictrustee.tas.gov.au.