Preparing your will may be a straightforward affair in terms of division of assets, but at Cairns Wills and Estates Lawyers, it is often our experience that clients haven't considered who they will choose as the Executor of their Will. Executors play a critical role in the process as they are the named people responsible for administering the estate in the eyes of the law. There are many activities that an Executor can be expected to complete, including:
- making sure that assets are distributed according to the terms of the Will
- making contact with beneficiaries regarding their entitlements
- arranging the funeral
- knowing the location of the original will
- collecting, preserving and protecting the assets
- identifying and satisfying liabilities
- investment of assets if required
- keeping a statement of liabilities and assets
- defending the will in the case of litigation
- dealing with and finalising taxation issues
- making an application to the Supreme Court for a Grant of Probate (if required)
It is vital that when considering the best person for the role of executor, you don't automatically pick the person closest to you. Remember that this potentially will be a very emotional and upsetting time and the Executor has an important job to focus on and will be accountable for serious decisions.
Who to Choose?
The main thing is that the Executor must act in the best interests of your beneficiaries and in good faith regarding estate matters.
In most situations, the family and friends closest to us are the ones that we trust beyond all others to uphold your best interests. If you choose someone very close to you to be the Executor, he or she will need to be able to manage their own grieving process in such a way that they will still effectively fulfill this critical role. If you choose someone not so emotionally attached, then there may be a question of complete trustworthiness. Either way, the selected person should be comfortable and familiar with finances, processes, paperwork and bureaucracy.
It is also an option to choose your lawyer as the Executor. Lawyers have an ethical responsibility to carry out the administration of an estate and, of course, they will know the law and legal processes intimately.
If you are considering whether or not to use a lawyer as an Executor, we can help you make the right decision for your circumstances.
Contact Cairns Wills and Estates Lawyers to arrange a no-obligation appointment with one of our team.
Cairns Wills and Estates Lawyers are part of Preston Law, one of Queensland's largest Regional law firms.