Choosing an Executor for a Will
The person or institution you put in charge of administering your estate and carrying out your final wishes is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when preparing a will.
Picking the right executor can help ensure the prompt, accurate distribution of your possessions with a minimum of family friction. Some of the duties of an executor include:
● Filing court papers to start the probate process● Taking an inventory of everything in the estate● Using your estate’s funds to pay bills, including taxes and funeral costs● Handling matters like terminating credit cards, notifying banks and government agencies like Centrelink of the death● Preparing and lodging final income tax returns● Distributing assets to the beneficiaries named in the will● Defending any family provisions claim made against the estate
The ideal candidate should be someone who is honest, dependable, well-organised, good with paperwork and vigilant about meeting deadlines.
Once you’ve made your choice, go over financial details in your will with whoever you have chosen as your executor. Let him or her know where you keep all your important documents and financial information.
If the person you choose needs help settling your estate, they can always call on an expert like a solicitor or accountant to guide them through the process, with your estate picking up the cost.
Most family members and close friends (especially if they are a beneficiary) serve for free, but if you opt for a third party executor, it may incur a fee.
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