What are the responsibilities of an Executor?

What are the responsibilities of an Executor?

An executor is a person who has been appointed by a relative or friend to carry out the provisions of their Will. As such, they have several responsibilities relating to the administration of their estate.

These include:

  • Determining if there is a Will and then advising the beneficiaries of the contents
  • Arranging the funeral
  • Obtaining the death certificate and, as necessary, applying for a Grant of Probate
  • Identifying and getting details of all the assets of the estate – e.g. bank accounts, shares and managed funds, superannuation accounts, real estate
  • Attending to the lodgement of any tax returns; usually this will be the final Individual return to the date of death and an Estate Trust return for the remainder of the financial year which will require its own Tax File Number (an accountant or solicitor can attend to this)
  • Keep and pass accounts for the estate

Establishing the value of the assets may be a time-consuming exercise and involve much paperwork, depending upon the extent and availability of records kept. Consultation with accountants and financial advisers, solicitors, fund managers and real estate agents could be necessary to complete this task.

Also, depending upon the assets owned by the deceased and the circumstances regarding the disposition of the estate, a Testamentary Trust created via a clause in the will, may be needed to cater for ongoing income and expenses in the following year/s whilst the estate is being wound up.

Financial advisors can be a source of advice for a number of roles for the executor and, if the deceased has already been a client of an adviser, is a very good person to consult in the initial stages and for any future financial planning that may be required.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact our office.