What executors need to know

Posted on November 20th, 2018

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What executors need to knowBeing appointed as an executor can be a daunting experience. It is an important job which needs to be carried out at a difficult and emotional time.

Here are the basics of what you first need to do when someone has died and you are the executor appointed under the will:

  1. Make the funeral arrangements.
  2. Contact Centrelink or the Department of Veterans Affairs if they were in receipt of a pension.
  3. Ensure all items of dollar and sentimental value are adequately secured, including considering whether locks to buildings need to be changed if there is a risk to the security of those items.
  4. Ensure that insurance is maintained/taken out over property such as buildings and cars.
  5. Contact a solicitor to arrange an appointment to obtain advice in relation to the estate. You should note that there is not a “reading of the will” like is seen in movies. It may not be appropriate to have beneficiaries accompany you to the appointment and this should be discussed with the solicitor by phone prior to the appointment if you are considering it.
  6. Collect the following, as best you can, in anticipation of your appointment with a solicitor:
    • Details of the deceased’s assets, liabilities and superannuation membership.
    • Details of any beneficiaries of the estate.
    • Details of the deceased’s accountant or financial planner.
    • Details of any insurance policies relating to the deceased’s assets.
    • Details of any managing agent for investment properties.

Being an executor doesn’t have to be a stressful job. By being prepared and obtaining legal advice regarding your role and responsibilities, the process of administering an estate is made much simpler.

You may want to wait to see a solicitor until after the Death Certificate issues (anywhere between three and eight weeks after death). That way you have had the time to collect the information which may be relevant to the estate and can provide the Death Certificate at the time of the appointment. It can also give you time to gather yourself emotionally. You may however prefer to see a solicitor as soon as possible so that things can get underway. It can also be prudent to obtain advice sooner rather than later if there is disharmony in the family. It is really up to you when you would prefer to make the appointment.

Lana Black, Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors, NewcastleLana Black is a Senior Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors and practices extensively in Estate Planning and Administration. If you require any assistance in this area please contact Lana Black to arrange a consultation or contact our Newcastle office.

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