When someone passes away leaving a will, it is usual for an executor to be appointed to manage the affairs of the estate. If you are appointed as an executor for the first time, it is likely that you will be unfamiliar with your role and responsibilities. If you are going to act as an executor, it is imperative that you familiarise yourself with the process, even the vocabulary may seem unusual.
Most wills appoint one or two executors but that is not to say that many more cannot be appointed – it just becomes a little logistically more complicated in the event that there are many executors. Unless you are specifically requested to be paid for your time by the will, it is unusual to be remunerated for your acting in the role of an executor.
The role of the executor is not one which should be taken lightly, indeed, there may be personal liability if the estate is incorrectly administered. For this reason, it really is beneficial to seek expert legal advice from an appropriately qualified lawyer. Your lawyer will assist you through the whole process.
There is no law that requires you to accept your appointment as an executor, however, if you do not want to act as an executor, you should sign and file a formal renunciation in the Supreme Court of NSW.
Upon your appointment, the first step is to complete the inventory of property. This is essentially a list of everything the deceased owned along with any payments or assets they may have had. Such items could include cars, homes, jewellery and shares.
The next step is to apply for a grant of Probate. Probate essentially allows you to deal with the items in the deceased’s estates. We will talk more on the nature of probate in our next Wills and Estates Blog.
If you have any queries or would like to discuss any aspect of the above, please do not hesitate to contact one of the experienced estates lawyers here at ClickLaw Australia.