What is an Executor of a Will?


When preparing a Will, you are required to choose an executor(s) who will be responsible for the administration of your estate.

They can be a person or organisation that you trust with the capacity to administer your estate when you pass away.

People often ask family members, close friends or even organisations such as the Australian Executive Trustee.

You can list more than one person to be your executor or choose to have one person undertake the role solely.


What is an Executor?


An executor is a person or organisation you appoint to carry out your Will’s wishes.

They will be responsible for:

  • Identifying all your assets and liabilities;
  • Applying for a grant of probate;
  • Preparing tax returns for your estate;
  • Defending any legal claims arising from your estate;
  • Resolving disputes between beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries;
  • Distributing the proceeds of your estate after payment of liabilities; and
  • Establishing trusts (if necessary).


Can the Executor be a Beneficiary?


A beneficiary of the estate and the executor can be the same person.

Caution must be exercised where impartiality may be in question.

Where a dispute arises over property, it may be difficult for an executor to act impartially where they are also a beneficiary.

Although there is a question of impartiality, many choose beneficiaries to act as their executors.

The logic behind that decision is if the executor has an interest in the estate, they are less likely to waste money of the estate.


Do I need to tell my Executor?


You do not have an obligation to tell your executor that they are named in your Will.

However, it is good practice to let them know that you have named them as your executor and to provide a copy of your Will, particularly if the Will sets out your wishes for dealing with your body.

Moreover, they are not required to accept the role of executor. They may also not be able to accept the role for a variety of reasons – due to their health or passing away (among other reasons).

If the person you list does not wish to accept the role, they will need to renounce their role as executor formally.

It is also advisable to name a second executor and in some cases a third, to ensure the executor is someone you trust.


Contact Us


For more information, contact Bambrick Legal today. We offer a free, no-obligation 15-min consultation for all enquiries.

Read more about our estate planning services here.

Related Blog – What is a Testamentary Trust?

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