Following the death of a Willmaker, all assets owned by a deceased person vests in the legal personal representatives named in the Will. The Legal Personal Representative is more commonly referred to as the Estate Executor.
Where a deceased person dies intestate (that is without a valid will), then the responsible person to administer the Estate is governed by the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules (UCPR). In most circumstances it is usually the surviving spouse or children of the deceased.
Executor Roles & Responsibilities
During the Estate Administration, the Executor has a number of legal and practical roles and responsibilities which include:
- Locating the original Will;
- Arranging the deceased person’s funeral if not arranged by immediate family members;
- Attending to urgent matters (if necessary);
- Obtaining details of the Estate’s assets and liabilities;
- Protecting and insuring those assets;
- Opening an Estate bank account (in most instances this is not necessary as a Solicitor’s trust account can be used for this purpose);
- Notifying beneficiaries named in the Will;
- Notifying creditors and debtors of the deceased’s passing;
- Obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration with the Will if the assets of the Estate require the Grant;
- Collect assets and realise them into cash (or transfer them to the intended beneficiary);
- Attend to payment of debts;
- Attend to payment of administration costs;
- Complete all documentation necessary to give effect to the transfer of Estate assets to intended beneficiaries;
- Be mindful of 6 month statutory limitation period before distributing Estate assets in the event an eligible person commences a Family Provision Application (otherwise known as Contesting the Estate);
- Attend to lodgement of the deceased person’s and the Estate’s final taxation returns (if applicable);
- Distribute the Estate’s assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the Will;
- Account to the beneficiaries for all monies received by and paid from the Estate during the course of the Estate Administration; and
- Administrate the Estate as soon as reasonably possible.
As can be seen by the tasks above, Estate Administration can range from being relatively simple and straightforward to extremely complex, time consuming and overwhelming for Executors.
OMB Solicitors have been administering estates on behalf of clients for over 40 years and we specialise in the area of estate administration. This area of law is a speciality and the work involved in properly administering an estate should not be underestimated.
Our experience shows that Executors can quite often find the administration process quite overwhelming. That’s where OMB Solicitors are here to help.
The role of an Executor is quite often an emotionally taxing one because the Executor is still grieving from the death of a loved one and coming to terms with the distribution of that person’s valuable and sentimental assets. More often than not, Executors rely upon OMB Solicitors to assist them wherever they can in the numerous estate administration processes. Of course it is ultimately the responsibility of the Executor to ensure the Will which appoints them as an Executor is upheld and the assets of the estate distributed in accordance with the terms of the Will.
OMB Solicitors are here to advise and assist Executors in the most time efficient, and as importantly, cost efficient manner to administer a deceased person’s estate.
At OMB Solicitors, we understand how daunting and confusing some aspects of estate administration may appear to Executors. It is often the case that it is a first time role for an Executor. We can explain the process in plain language so Executors know what is required and expected of them.
For any estate administration, OMB Solicitors will always advise Executors on the likely timing that can be expected to administer the estate and, more importantly, the likely costs which the estate (not the Executor personally) will incur by engaging OMB Solicitors to administer the estate on their behalf.