If you are an Executor of a Will you may be thinking ‘What do I do?”. Being an Executor is an important job. Many consider it to be an honour to assist with the carrying out of a person’s final wishes. However, for others it is a stressful time- they fear family conflict bubbling up to the surface, find the probate process a nightmare of court rules procedures and don’t have the time to sort through the paper and work out what the person owned. The first task an executor needs to do, is to locate the original Will (if someone has passed away without a will, read this article- What happens when a person dies without a Will?). Some people store these at home, but many have their original Will with their solicitor or, less common now days, in a bank deposit box. Solicitors have ways to communicate quickly with other solicitors to determine where the original Will is. You also need to obtain the original death certificate before you can apply for Probate
Probate is the process that describes the Supreme Court verifying the validity of the Will and then granting the power to the executor to start administering the estate. Once probate is granted, an executor can start a process of “calling in the assets”, such as removing funds and closing bank accounts, selling property and share and the like. Before probate is granted an executor is personally liable for any errors, so it is vital an executor wait until probate is granted.
We are experts in locating Wills, assets, bank accounts and property. We are well experienced in the probate process as well as distributing the estate the beneficiaries (that is, people named in the Will as receiving an inheritance). We can also advise you on superannuation issues, advise if you need to file a tax return (on behalf of the deceased person or the estate), help you manage any claims made against the estate and make sure you follow the Will’s intentions and the law in dealing with the estate.