4 min read

Top Tips For Executor of a Will

Learn what it takes to fulfil the executor role, with our top tips on managing the duties, people and stress in between. Whether it's navigating executor of estate responsibilities efficiently and adequately, communicating with beneficiaries or keeping written records- we've got you covered from everything you need to know.

Executors of estate

The Executor of a Will carries a heap of responsibility. From fulfilling end of life wishes, to paperwork, Supreme court and handling of the financial estate- it can get pretty overwhelming on top of normal life stress.

Carrying out your role effectively can make or break the estate administration- determining how long family members are left without support from the deceased’s estate.

With this in mind, it’s important to get it right. But, to give you a helping hand, we’ve teamed up with Safewill Legal for some top tips to get you through. From understanding the role itself, the benchmark of success and some helpful tips along the way; this is your executor cheat sheet for start to finish.

What is an executor of a Will?

As executor, you're appointed by the deceased person to fulfil the instructions in their Will. Within this role, you have a legal obligation to act in the best interest of the estate and beneficiaries; managing and distributing assets, as well as paying debts and taxes on the estate.

Executor Responsibilities

As an executor, you bear several important responsibilities throughout the administration of the estate- from obtaining probate in the Supreme court, to managing and identifying asset value across property, bank accounts, investments, personal belongings and debts.

Once completed, you are then responsible for managing the estate's affairs and paying debts or taxes. You’ll then distribute the remaining estate to beneficiaries, as specified in the Will.

What's the benchmark of ‘doing a good job’?

The legal liability of fulfilling your duties as executor can feel intimidating. So what’s actually classed as doing an adequate job?

Firstly, ‘effectively and efficiently’ is always held up against complying with legal requirements. Your’e required to administer the estate in a timely manner, without compromising on record-keeping, transparency, honesty or fairness of distribution.

Markers of success on this include minimal disputes amongst beneficiaries, as well as financial stability of the estate under your management.

Requiring a mix of integrity, honesty and financial management skills- the role of executor requires most people to step up. You’ll have to manage your time effectively, be patient, be diligent and also stay organised in your communications.

So, on top of grief and other life responsibilities….how can the average person fulfil this role?

Top Tips for an Executor

  1. Seek Professional Advice:

Engaging an experienced estate lawyer or solicitor can be invaluable for guidance, support on complex legal issues and compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Not only will a lawyer reduce stress, but they can also increase the efficiency of the process without cutting any corners which jeopardise the estate.

2. Understand the Will and the Deceased's Wishes

Familiarise yourself with the contents of the Will and ensure you have a clear understanding of the deceased's intentions. Working from this understanding from the get go can help ensure decisions and actions are aligned with their wishes.

3. Keep Accurate Records:

Maintaining detailed records of all transactions, communications, and decisions related to the estate administration is an important aspect of executor success. This will help you stay organised, as well as provide a clear trail of documentation if any issues or disputes arise.

4. Communicate Effectively:

Aside from the behind the scenes paperwork, executors are required to keep beneficiaries in the loop. Regularly communicating with these people can help ease anxieties and disputes- as well as provide comfort at what can be a stressful and emotional time.

5. Stay Objective and Impartial:

Whilst it might be hard if you're a family member or friend, your’e job as executor is to stay impartial and fair. This isn’t a time for family favourites, and it’s important to avoid conflicts of interest or allow personal bias to cloud the best interests of the estate, and its beneficiaries.

This can be a stressful aspect of the executor role, and it’s important to look after yourself at this time. Taking breaks, seeking legal support and creating boundaries can help keep you clear headed and working at your best.

How Safewill can help

Safewill Legal provides tailored support to executors of estate, at any stage of their role. From interpreting a Will, going through probate or dealing with legal complexities in the estate- our team of specialist lawyers are on hand to support you when it matters most.

That's specialised advice, affordable costs and a timeframe which works around you.

Reach out today to find out more, on 1800 103 310 , or via live chat now.

Last updated 03rd July 2023
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Hannah Comiskey
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