The executor of an estate ensures that the directions set out in the will are carried out. This process can be a challenging one, especially when it comes at such a stressful time in people's lives.
Although every will is unique, below are four steps that will assist with the effective administration of a will.
Gather the estate property and pay out any debts
The first step in Will administration is to locate any beneficiaries, as well as determine the assets and liabilities of the estate.
Any debts that the deceased incurred before they passed away will need to be paid before considering distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.
Applying for Probate
Probate is the formal recognition from the Supreme Court of Queensland that it is satisfied that the will is the most recent one made by the deceased, and is usually required when the estate has assets of significant value such as a house, large deposit funds etc.
If the deceased only has limited assets or if they are held jointly with another individual – Probate may not be required.
Contact the beneficiaries and distribute the estate
Once all the outstanding debts have been paid, and Probate has been granted (if applicable), the next step for the executor is to distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
Keep detailed records of the entire process
Executors can be challenged if they are deemed to have not handled the estate properly or have not complied with the instructions contained within a will. If this situation does occur, accurate and thorough record keeping will be essential to demonstrate that your conduct has been appropriate.
We recommend keeping a diary detailing the events, along with a ledger of assets, so that if your decisions are ever challenged, that your reasons for your actions can easily be recalled.
If you are looking to prepare a will or have recently become an executor, make sure you talk to a wills and estates lawyer today.