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One of the biggest decisions when you prepare a Will is deciding who will be the executor. This role is a big responsibility, and the decision shouldn’t be taken lightly.

To help you nominate the right person, here’s a rundown of what a Will executor’s tasks include.

What do executors of Wills do?

The executor of a Will has to:

  • Administer your estate after you pass away
  • Ensure all debts are paid
  • Close your accounts
  • Oversee the disbursement of inheritances in accordance with your wishes

It is also usually the executor’s job to arrange your funeral. They can use funds from your estate to pay for it.

The Will executor may need to go through the process of probate. This is a court order granted by the Supreme Court of Queensland that confirms:

  • the Will is valid
  • the executor has permission to distribute the estate

Probate is usually required if you leave behind property and a substantial amount of money. Grants of probate usually take around 20 business days and the process includes:

  • gathering supporting documents such as an affidavit
  • publishing a probate notice
  • waiting 14 days
  • submitting a probate application
  • responding to Requisitions from the court.

After probate is confirmed, the person responsible for executing your final wishes and finalising your estate will have to answer the following questions:

  • What do you wish to happen to your remains?
  • Who needs to be notified about your passing?
  • What will happen to your property and belongings?
  • Who is entitled to what percentage of the money that comes from the sale of property and other assets / who are the will’s beneficiaries?
  • How will belongings and funds be distributed?

Your executor will ideally have access to your accounts after you pass away. If you have a list of providers for them to get in touch with, they will find the process much easier. Consider your:

  • Phone and internet provider
  • Gas/electricity provider
  • Insurance providers
  • Subscriptions (e.g. Netflix etc)
  • Gym memberships
  • Housekeeping services etc

Think about bank, superannuation and investment accounts as well; it can take a long time for your executor to access accounts (executors generally can only access your bank accounts once probate has been granted by the Court.)

Ask your lawyer to hold onto these details for safekeeping.

Who should execute your Will?

Being executor of a Will can be stressful and time-consuming. When you nominate someone, keep this in mind.

Most people choose a family member or trusted friend. Sometimes, two people are nominated, either to execute the Will together or as an alternative if the first choice is unavailable or incapable of taking on the responsibility.

Often, siblings are nominated as joint executors. This can help ensure everything is kept ‘fair’ during the Will execution process.

Some things to consider include:

  • You can nominate someone who is a beneficiary
  • You can add a clause to your Will to ensure your executor is compensated for their time and efforts
  • If you appoint joint executors, make sure they are able to work well together
  • You can nominate a lawyer or trustee instead of a family member. Usually, payment for their services will come out of your estate but make this clear when you ask them to act as executor, so they don’t come up against pushback from your family.

If you do nominate a family member, they can work in conjunction with a solicitor to ensure they get everything right.

Make your executor’s life easy

A rushed or unclear Will can make things very difficult for an executor. The more questions you can clearly answer in your Will, the better.

Write down your wishes in a formal Will, store relevant information safely with a lawyer and have everything prepared formally and correctly so you don’t create unnecessary stress for your executor when the time comes.

The right approach to Wills and executors will give you and your family peace of mind. Reach out to Crest Lawyers to start preparing your will today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this news post is general in nature and is intended to provide a general summary only and should not be relied on as a substitute for legal advice. Whilst the information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact upon the accuracy of the information.