Who should be my executor?

Published 19 Jan 2017

It is no easy task determining who your executor should be. Discover what factors you'll need to consider and whether the person you have in mind is suited for this demanding job,

Know the role of the executor

Before deciding who your executor should be, it is a good idea for both you and your chosen executor to know what the role demands.

The NSW Trustee and Guardian defines an executor as the person responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased person. Fulfilling their wishes can involve:

  • Finding where the will is located
  • Collecting and obtaining assets
  • Proving the will to the court
  • Distributing and transferring assets according to the will's terms
  • Discharging debts
  • Securing trusts
  • Handling income tax returns and addressing capital gains issues

What to keep in mind when choosing an executor

First of all, know that you should choose someone who is unlikely to die before you. If they do die before you, it will make it unnecessarily complicated handling your estate.

Legal Answers for NSW stresses the importance of choosing someone who is a responsible and has agreed to be your executor beforehand. It also helps to appoint an executor who understands complex financial, accounting, legal and taxation procedures.

It is also very important that you consider how impartial the person is. Will disputes can get heated and it helps to have someone who can be neutral when managing arguments between family members regarding inheritances.

As the duties listed above show, it also pays to decide on a person who has the time to deal with these issues. Otherwise, they will be under a considerable amount of stress. If it proves to be too much, know that your executor can arrange for relevant professionals to take over the job.

Legal Answers for NSW also recommends making it very clear if more than one executor is appointed. State in writing whether you intend on the two persons acting jointly or whether the second person is only a substitute.

Lastly, although this is not essential, Legal Answers of NSW states that it can help to elect a person who lives in the same state as you.

Contact Gerard Malouf & Partners to discover how our highly specialised group of contesting a will lawyers can help you with the ins and outs of the laws or any will disputes. Because we are not a large firm, we are small enough to intimately care for our clients but we also have the financial backing to fund legal battles.

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