The primary objective of laws pertaining to Wills is to:

  • ensure that the assets of the deceased are distributed as per wishes of the deceased;
  • avoid risk of fraud and minimise chances of mismanagement.

The executors of a Will are appointed by the maker of the Will to look after the estate of the deceased person and carry out the directions in the Will. We have some of the most highly regarded Wills and Estates lawyers Sydney has to offer, ready to assist in all your Wills and Probate matters.

Executors of a Will are appointed by the deceased in their Will
                                                               (source: HuffPost Life)

Wills and Probate Law

The distribution of the deceased estate is supervised by both legislative and Common Law authorities and the intention of the deceased is valued the most while distributing the property.

The executor of the estate is usually nominated in the Will of the deceased. Where there is no valid Will or the person nominated to be the executor is unable to discharge the duties, the Supreme Court can appoint an administrator to deal with the deceased estate.

The beneficiaries have no right or interest in the deceased estate until the executor or the administrator distributes and disposes off the assets and debts of the deceased. The beneficiaries only have the right to sue the executor and the administrator if they fail to administer the estate diligently and correctly. (If you’re considering contesting a Will, or you’re an executor that is being challenged, contact the helpful team at Owen Hodge Lawyers today.)

Executors may be asked to prove that they are authorised to administer the Will before the assets can be released and this can be proved with the grant of Probate. To obtain a Probate, the executors of a Will must apply to the respective Probate Office of the Supreme Court. If the application is approved, it proves the authentication of the Will and that the executor is the person authorised to administer the deceased estate.

In situations where administrators are appointed, they need to obtain a Letter of Administration before the estate of the deceased is distributed.

What Does an Executor of a Will Do?

An executor is a person who stands in the shoes of the deceased and administers the estate. The executor’s role varies with the type of estate. However, the role generally includes the following:

  • Collecting and gathering the real and personal estates to administer the estate properly as per the relevant law;
  • Notifying all interested parties including beneficiaries of the Will;
  • Providing a sealed exhibit containing full list of the inventory held within the estate to the Supreme Court;
  • Preparing and submitting the total costs involved in administration of the estate to the Supreme Court;
  • Providing the relevant Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration to the Supreme Court;
  • Finalising income tax returns of the deceased and of his/her estate; and
  • Taking necessary steps to distribute the estate as per the Will.

Executors of a Will Have The Following Responsibilities:

An executor of a will in NSW is responsible for:

  • Organising funeral and/or burial or cremation of the deceased;
  • Locating the original Will and confirming it to the beneficiaries;
  • Keeping the assets safe, such as securing properties and valuables, bank accounts and paying insurance companies;
  • Lodging taxation returns to the Australian Taxation Office on behalf of the deceased and his/her estate; and
  • Selling properties and distributing assets as per the Will.
  • The executor of an estate must comply with the various laws and rules governing the administration of the deceased estates.
  • The responsibilities of an executor are challenging and comprehensive. Some estates are complicated wherein the executor might need to consult a legal practitioner to assist him in finalising the estate.
  • The executor of a Will is also responsible for preserving assets, managing trusts and making investments on behalf of beneficiaries below 18 years of age.

If you have any queries, or you’re ready to begin your estate planning, feel free to seek legal advice Owen Hodge Lawyers.

More information about Wills and Probate:

Administration of an Estate – Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration

Assets and Liabilities of an Estate

Contracts Involving Wills

General & Enduring Guardianship

General & Enduring Power of Attorney

Intestacy Rule

Legal Capacity and Wills

Living Wills and Mutual Wills

Not-For-Profit Organisations: Wills & Bequests

Revoking a Will

Special Disability Trusts – What Are they and How Can they Assist you

Succession Planning

Testamentary Trusts

Ways to change your Will

Advanced Care Directives

Dementia and the Law

Does A Person Have Capacity To Make A Will?

Enduring Guardianship

How to begin dealing with a Deceased Estates

FAQ about Probate & Executor Duties

Family Provision Act Claims and Estates Disputes

FAQ about Planning For Your Future

Farm Succession Planning

FAQ about Wills & Estate Planning

General & Enduring Power of Attorney

How To Write A Will

Power of Attorney

Substitute decision-making

The Succession Act

Transition to Aged Care

Wills & Estate Planning

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