An executor is a person appointed in someone's Will to
manage their affairs and carry out their wishes after they die.
An executor's duties include:
arranging the funeral;
locating the Will and identifying all of the
applying to the court for a grant of probate, if that is
collecting all of the estate assets and paying any debts;
arranging for tax returns to be prepared and lodged;
distributing the estate in accordance with the Will;
bringing and defending any legal proceedings on behalf of the
managing the inheritance of any beneficiaries who are under 18,
if they are appointed to do so.
The role of executor is very important and therefore it is
important to choose the right person or people.
You should choose someone who is trustworthy, reliable and
organised. You should also discuss your choice with the person you
would like to appoint beforehand, to make sure they are willing to
take on the role, as it can be time consuming and demanding.
You should also consider whether there is any likelihood of
conflict or disputes arising in relation to your estate after you
die. If a dispute does arise, your executor will play a very
important role in managing and dealing with that, including
representing your estate in court proceedings if that becomes
necessary. Particularly, you should avoid appointing an executor
who you think might challenge your Will, as this will place them in
a position of conflict.
Up to four people can act jointly as your executor. If you
appoint more than four people in your Will, only the first four
named people will be the executors. Your executor can be any person
who is over 18. Many people choose family members or friends.
You can also appoint a professional person to be your executor,
such as a lawyer or accountant. People often choose this option
where they have no trusted family member or friend who they can
appoint, their estate is very complex or there is a high likelihood
of a dispute after they die.
If you die without a Will or the executors nominated in your
Will cannot or do not wish to carry out the role, other people who
are interested in the administration of the estate can apply to the
court for 'letters of administration'. If there is no other
suitable person to appoint, the court will appoint the Public
Trustee of Queensland. The person who is appointed is then your
Winner – EOWA Employer of Choice for Women Citation 2009,
2010, 2011 and 2012
Winner – ALB Gold Employer of Choice 2011 and 2012
Finalist – ALB Australasian Law Awards 2008, 2010, 2011 and
2012 (Best Brisbane Firm)
Winner – BRW Client Choice Awards 2009 and 2010 - Best
Australian Law Firm (revenue less than $50m)
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
There are several requirements that must be completed by an executor before the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).