An executor of a will is the person appointed to manage the will maker’s estate. This person is responsible for carrying out the will maker’s wishes as stated in the will after he or she has died.
Executor of will duties in QLD are outlined in the Succession Act 1981. Before agreeing to execute a will, it’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into. If you have been named as executor of a will, QLD Estate Lawyers can make this process less confusing.
Executor of Will Duties
The executor of a will must perform a range of duties to ensure the will maker’s assets are distributed as per their wishes. An executor may choose to do everything themselves or instruct a solicitor to take the necessary steps under his or her direction.
These are the key responsibilities associated with executing a will:
Carry out the wishes of the will maker according to the will
Act in the best interests of the estate and beneficiaries;
Manage and protect assets of the estate until they are distributed to the beneficiaries;
Ensure liabilities of the estate are paid;
If more than one executor is appointed, collectively agree on a course of action;
Maintain accurate records dictating how the estate has been managed and distributed including a financial summary;
If a conflict arises, disclose the circumstances to beneficiaries and seek written consents as to the course of conduct proposed to be taken;
Whether the will maker wants to distribute their assets evenly between family members or donate their entire estate to charity, it’s the executioner’s responsibility to fulfil their requests.
If you fail to act in the best interests of an estate and its beneficiaries, your validity as an executor may be challenged.
The executor must ensure that any property and other assets are properly maintained until they can be sold and distributed among beneficiaries. For example, they must not allow the deceased person’s home to fall into disrepair while waiting for the will to be finalised.
Liabilities of an estate can include taxes and outstanding debts. Ensuring these are properly taken care of will protect the estate from losses.
Disagreements between executors of a will can lead to delays in asset distribution. Collectively agreeing on a resolution will help minimise delays.
Efficient record keeping can help executors avoid confusion and conflict. The financial summary should display the estate’s assets and liabilities, with particulars on how these have been resolved and distributed among beneficiaries.
Executors and beneficiaries may encounter conflict on a range of issues, including:
- The value of assets
- Misappropriation of funds
- Poor management of assets
- The sale of an asset, such as a house.
In order to avoid delays in the administration of a will, executors are responsible for maintaining communication between all relevant parties.
If the will maker has not proposed funeral arrangements, to decide those arrangements;
Communicate regularly with beneficiaries a to steps taken as regards administration of the estate;
Making funeral arrangements is often one of the first tasks an executor must undertake.
Executors are obligated to keep beneficiaries informed of any progress made in the administration of the estate.
What if you don’t want to be executor?
Can an executor of a will be a beneficiary?
When should beneficiaries be notified?
Do executors of a will get paid?
If you wish to renounce your role as executor, you may need to appoint a lawyer to manage the administration of the estate (unless multiple executors have been named by the will maker).
Yes. It’s perfectly legal (and quite common) for people to be an executor and a beneficiary of a will.
The executor should notify any beneficiaries of the will as soon as possible. Failing to notify beneficiaries can lead to your responsibilities as executor being revoked.
Unless they have been appointed to manage a will in a professional capacity, executors don’t usually get paid.
Fulfilling your responsibilities as an executor of a will can make the estate administration process easier for everyone involved. For more information on executing a will in Queensland, contact QLD Estate Laywers today.