Executors – Know Your Duties and Adhere to Them Carefully!

Your dad recently passed away and he appointed you in his will as his executor. You are deeply honoured to be entrusted with the role, but are you aware of your duties and obligations?

 If you don’t understand and comply with your duties as an executor, you may face legal liability. Being an executor is an honour – and a responsibility. Do the right thing by your dad, and protect yourself from liability – understand your duties, and be aware of what can happen if you breach them.

What are your duties as an executor?

As the executor of an estate, you must act proactively and diligently, with due care and in the best interests of all of the beneficiaries and the estate.  This means, for example, that you must administer your dad’s estate in a timely and efficient manner; you must communicate with the beneficiaries of the estate, and you must not allow your personal interests to conflict with those of the beneficiaries and the estate.

What can happen if you don’t comply with your duties?

Depending upon the duty you have breached and its impact on the beneficiaries of the estate, a variety of consequences may follow, for example:

  • the beneficiaries may apply to the court have you removed as executor; and
  • the court may order you to pay costs to the estate.

If you are an executor, we can assist you with the administration of the estate. The estate lawyers at Scanlan Carroll will explain your duties and obligations to you and ensure compliance. Alternatively, if you are a beneficiary of an estate, we can discuss any concerns you may have about the way the estate is being administered and explain your options. Please contact Sharelle Staff (sharelle@scanlancarroll.com.au) or Brooke Jolly (brooke@scanlancarroll.com.au).