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I’ve Been Named an Executor in a Will. What Do I Have to Do?

I’ve Been Named an Executor in a Will. What Do I Have to Do?

An executor is responsible for:

  • Locating the original will
  • Making sure appropriate funeral arrangements have been made
  • Ascertaining the assets of the deceased
  • Paying any tax liabilities that have accrued as at the time of death
  • Obtaining a grant of probate, if required
  • Informing beneficiaries of their entitlements
  • Bringing in the assets of the deceased
  • Attending to payment of the funeral and other estate expenses
  • Paying all liabilities of the deceased
  • Protecting and insuring any property owned by the deceased prior to its distribution
  • Distributing specific gifts
  • Transferring the residue of the estate to the residual beneficiaries
  • Ensuring required tax returns are prepared and lodged

I don’t want to take on the role. What can I do?

  • If you have been appointed executor jointly with another person let them know and they can then apply for probate in their name.
  • If you are the sole person named in the will as a first choice executor, you need to sign a form renouncing your right to be the executor. The next person named can take on the role, or alternatively, if there is no-one else, one of the beneficiaries, can apply
  • You must not take on any of the executor’s tasks before resigning from the role as executor. The court is reluctant to allow an executor to resign if they have begun to be involved.


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Family law, divorce, wills and estate specialists for Adelaide and South Australia.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Nothing in this blog should be deemed to create or constitute a solicitor-client relationship between any readers and Swan Lawyers. A solicitor-client relationship is created only when this firm agrees to represent someone and a written engagement agreement or engagement letter is signed by both the client and solicitor. In all cases, the reader should consult his or her own solicitor for advice. The information in this blog is based on Australian law.