What to do after someone passes away? – A Guideline for Executors

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The loss of a loved one is a difficult and emotional time for any person. As an Executor, you have an important role in administering the deceased person’s Estate, but it is a role we are here to help you with.

How to Pay for Your Loved One’s Funeral?

It is important to check if your loved one held a funeral plan, funeral insurance or a life insurance policy. If not, then there are two main options available to pay for your loved one’s funeral.

The first option is to take the tax invoice from the funeral parlour to the deceased person’s bank and organise payment from their account. The bank may also request a copy of the death certificate or Will. The second option is to pay the funeral account with your own money, before taking the tax receipt to the deceased person’s bank for reimbursement.

It is not a formal role of an Executor to organise the payment of a loved one’s funeral expenses, but it is likely to be a further personal responsibility.

Where to Locate Your Loved One’s Will?

When made Executor, you may have been told where the deceased person’s original Will was to be kept, or you may hold a copy stating where the original is. It is likely that the Will is held at a solicitor’s office or even their bank.

If the deceased person’s original Will is not held by us, you can organise for the holder to send us the original so we may assist you in your role as Executor.

How to begin Administering your Loved One’s Estate?

Following the funeral, it will now be time to begin your Executor duties. As an Executor it is your legal responsibility to administer the deceased person’s Estate, which includes; preserving and collecting assets, paying any debts and then distributing assets as per your loved one’s wishes.

Firstly, make a list and collect all documents related to the assets or liabilities of the deceased. Common assets and liabilities will include real estate, bank accounts, shares, aged care deposits, motor vehicles , loans or mortgages.

At your first appointment, bring in this information to allow us to begin helping you to administer the Estate. We will write to all assetholders on your behalf to notify them of your loved one’s passing and asking for the requirements to release their assets.

What Happens Next? Collecting Assets of the Estate.

It is likely that a Grant of Probate will be required to collect your loved one’s assets. A Grant of Probate is a legal document that gives authority to you as an Executor to manage the Estate in accordance with the Will. It is our role as solicitor of the Estate to organise the Probate application on your behalf.

When the Grant of Probate is received, we will write to the asset holders and direct them to release the deceased person’s assets to be held in Trust and organise the payment of any liabilities.

Distributing and Finalising the Estate.

Around the time of the Probate application, you may wish to communicate to the beneficiaries in a Will that their bequest will be upcoming. Once all Estate assets are collected, then the distribution in accordance with the Will may be organised. At this point, your responsibilities as an Executor will now have been fulfilled and the Estate will be finalised.

We Are Here to Help

This article is informational only and not legal advice. The information may not be tailored to you, and you should not rely on it as a substitute for legal advice. Contact us for tailored advice for your specific situation. If you need assistance, please contact our firm to book a free (without obligation) 30-minute phone consultation on 1300 999 099. Or email us at clerk@auslex.com.au

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