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Being an executor


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#1 Apageintime

Posted 30 July 2019 - 03:46 PM

I was named executor for an elderly relative.

I am not that persons child, or a beneficiary of the estate. I am in a different state to that person.

That person has now passed away.

What happens now? Do I need to see alawyer? A special one, the one that wrote the will? Do I pay for this out of my pocket, and about how much should I expect to pay?

The estate really only consists of a house.

The will is pretty clear that the estate goes equally between the beneficiaries.

Should be easy enough on paper, but they all hate each other and will argue about it endlessly.

My tempatation is to send it to state trustees - but I adored this relative and they specifically asked me not to do that.

any help or guidance aout being an executor welcome!

#2 luke's mummu

Posted 30 July 2019 - 03:52 PM

You shouldn’t need to pay for anything out of your own pocket- everything including meals and travel expenses that are part of your duty should be covered by the estate before the beneficiaries get a cent.

The will should be at a solicitors - just use that one unless you have trust issues. Let the solicitor sort out any arguments- they will charge $$$$ to do that, and the beneficiaries will soon learn to shut up to save money

Edited by luke's mummu, 30 July 2019 - 03:54 PM.


#3 WTFancie shmancie

Posted 30 July 2019 - 04:00 PM

^^^ This.

The beneficiaries can argue between themselves all they like.

But as long as you disburse the estate as per the will, they do not get to argue with you.  Just ignore them.

Edited by WTFancie shmancie, 30 July 2019 - 06:01 PM.


#4 born.a.girl

Posted 30 July 2019 - 04:15 PM

View PostApageintime, on 30 July 2019 - 03:46 PM, said:

I was named executor for an elderly relative.

I am not that persons child, or a beneficiary of the estate. I am in a different state to that person.

That person has now passed away.

What happens now? Do I need to see alawyer? A special one, the one that wrote the will? Do I pay for this out of my pocket, and about how much should I expect to pay?

The estate really only consists of a house.

The will is pretty clear that the estate goes equally between the beneficiaries.

Should be easy enough on paper, but they all hate each other and will argue about it endlessly.

My tempatation is to send it to state trustees - but I adored this relative and they specifically asked me not to do that.

any help or guidance aout being an executor welcome!


Oh you poor thing.

We had just this last year when my husband's friend of 40 years died, not totally unexpectedly, but a year or two before it was fully expected, so he hadn't had a chance to go though things with him.

Fortunately he'd made a new will months before he died, the solicitor told him it's very difficult for an executor who's interstate, and husband's friend said 'there is no one else'.

We did actually do a lot of it ourselves, and I did pay some things out of pocket, but only because that was easier than otherwise for us, and I had absolutely no doubt that the money would come back to us.

The one saving grace, was that he didn't leave the money to extended family, but 1/3 to a charity and 2/3 to his passion, a radio station for a scholarship and they were fantastic.

We did actually clean out his flat ourselves, but that was because my husband felt like he should honour his friend's request, so that strangers weren't trawling through his stuff.

We just kept telling ourselves 'at least it wasn't left to family' as that inevitably leads to the sorts of things pps mention.

Please do as they suggest, just use the solicitor who wrote the will, get them to do everything.  They can even get you to sign a power of attorney, for them to act for you as executor.

We were the same as you - interstate rules can be different. We turned up to the solicitor and said 'now what?'.

Just refer family enquiries to the solicitor.

If you need to travel there, your expenses are covered by the estate, along with any other costs you incur.

#5 Mollyksy

Posted 30 July 2019 - 04:17 PM

I'm sorry for your loss. I've done it. I went through the solicitor with whom the will had been made. They talked me through it. Mainly consisted of signing a zillion things.

Do you have to arrange the funeral? Some banks will pay a funeral invoice from a frozen bank account but wont repay you if you've paid (that was learnt the hard way, you'll get it, but at the end).

Do you have to sell the home or just put in other people's names?

Finally before you finalize, find out if you need to do the deceased's last tax return. You may need to pay so don't want to finalize then realise there is a tax bill.

But the solicitor will walk you through it. Direct all queries to the solicitor and remind then it will cost.

Avoid the state trustee if you can. They charge a fortune and are very risk adverse and will take things to supreme court to get judgment just to cover themselves which costs the estate for all costs. (NSW, I've seen it).

Hopefully it's pretty straightforward for you.

#6 born.a.girl

Posted 30 July 2019 - 04:59 PM

Has the funeral been organised?

As per Mollyksy, the bank will pay for it from a frozen account.

My three experiences though, show that how easy that is will depend on who in the bank you strike.  It seems there are no particular experts any more and the person you deal with may not even have processed one before.

First was absolutely straightforward, using Certificate of cause of death.  Official death certificate can be weeks to a couple of months off, so obviously that's too late for the funeral to be paid for.

Second, was told 'oh no, we need official death certificate'. I just stood my ground and said that what they had was sufficient. When he wouldn't budge on that I said to go and ask someone more senior. Came back and muttered 'this'll do'.  Like he was doing us a favour.

Third time, young woman from the commonwealth, over the phone, actually snapped at me.  I said that we had the medical certificate of death, she said they needed the official death certificate (I'm not sure some of them know the difference) and I said that I'd done this a few times and the medical certificate of death had been sufficient.  She snapped 'well if you've done this before you'll know what we need!', followed by 'hang on', next thing I know I'm talking to the manager who said 'yes of course we use the medical certificate of death, we know the official one is way off'.  I complained about her manner, said that it was a totally inappropriate way to speak to someone who's just lost a family member.

So ... if you are personally organising for payment for the funeral directors, only using the Medical Certificate of Death, just ask to speak to the manager if they give you any grief.

#7 MarigoldMadge

Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:15 PM

Remind the beneficiaries that an executor who is not a beneficiary can claim costs from the estate for all the work they have to do, if it becomes onerous.



#8 SeaPrincess

Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:28 PM

Im so sorry for your loss. My advice would be to work with the lawyer to get it all done as soon as you can. Hopefully it goes smoothly.

My friend was nominated co-executor of a will of someone who died in January 2018. She declined the duty and recommended that the other executor also get out if it and leave it in the hands of the lawyer. The family was diabolical, but I won't go into details because it's quite identifying. Long story short, the will has not yet gone to probate and the executor is out of pocket in the tens of thousands of dollars, the family is a disaster and there'll be nothing left to divide by the time they're finished.

#9 Apageintime

Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:36 PM

One of the beneficiaries paid for the funeral. So I assume will just be reimbursed from final estate? They are in no hurry to get paid for it. So no problems there.

The beneficiaries are arguing over goods in the house. Like who gets what candle, and where is this thing from 10 years ago type stuff. But I guess that's not for me to worry about?

#10 Inkogneatoh

Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:48 PM

Apageintime - So sorry for your loss.




born.a.girl - Thank you. You've provided me with the term I've been searching. I knew there was a preliminary certificate issued after my dad died (that Mum used to deal with the bank), but I've had someone telling me it was the official one.

#11 Mollyksy

Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:49 PM

I think it is your problem sadly.

What did the will say exactly? Was there a section that said I leave everything to x,y and z. Or was it house to x and y, shares to g and H, etc. What you are looking for is either the entirety of the estate including personal effects divided between x, y and z. Or a comment like 'residual estate divided between' or something where you can tell who was meant to get the persons personal belongings (jewellery, furnature, ornaments etc). In a simple will it's usually obvious.

As executor your job is to fairly distribute as per will. You could take everything and sell and split. You could let them choose and keep track of rough value so its equal. If they are arguing, I'd catalogue and lock the house and seek solicitor advice. Perhaps they could nominate off a list. Ask the solicitor. But if they were left everything equally then you need to make sure it is roughly equal.

You dont want to risk claims of x got the antique candlesticks worth gazillions type thing.

Remember you can hire an estate cleaner who can go through, sell the valuable and dump the rubbish prior to house sale (if one is needed). Estate will reimburse you. But be sure there will be cash at the end to do so or you are stuffed.

As for funeral, the bank in my example wouldnt repay the executor bit said they would have paid the funeral home directly. But yes, reimburse them out of the estate. Get the receipt off them. And give to solicitor.

#12 WTFancie shmancie

Posted 30 July 2019 - 06:00 PM

View PostApageintime, on 30 July 2019 - 05:36 PM, said:

One of the beneficiaries paid for the funeral. So I assume will just be reimbursed from final estate? They are in no hurry to get paid for it. So no problems there.

They will need to supply the invoice from the funeral home and the receipt in their name for reimbursement at final disbursement of the estate.

View PostApageintime, on 30 July 2019 - 05:36 PM, said:


The beneficiaries are arguing over goods in the house. Like who gets what candle, and where is this thing from 10 years ago type stuff. But I guess that's not for me to worry about?




Depends on what the will says as the goods and chattels generally form part of the estate.



#13 born.a.girl

Posted 30 July 2019 - 06:12 PM

In theory, you can't distribute anything until probate (proving the will).  In practice, beneficiaries who are actually talking to each other in a civilised manner split things according to what they knew of the person's wishes.  Both Mum & MIL were fortunately families like that. We're not all friendly, but we're civilised.

In the case of my husband's friend, there were items that he specifically willed to one of the beneficiaries, that we would have had to put into storage in order to sell the place empty.  Solicitor suggested  the eventual beneficiary hold them for safekeeping, and in the even that things didn't work out as planned, they would have to be returned. The chance of that was too small to even contemplate, but at least we got around the technicalities.

Even if there's no jewellery of much value, there can be things of emotional importance to people.  I'd do as pps suggested, get someone in to value things.  People nominate what they'd like from that list so everyone gets the same value.  (Beyond what she'd specified we were to have, this is what we did with MIL's jewellery.)

Things of no value, again a list - pay someone - and again people nominate what they'd like so everyone gets an equivalent value.

#14 SeaPrincess

Posted 30 July 2019 - 06:43 PM

View PostApageintime, on 30 July 2019 - 05:36 PM, said:

The beneficiaries are arguing over goods in the house. Like who gets what candle, and where is this thing from 10 years ago type stuff. But I guess that's not for me to worry about?

If there are no specifications, everything should be valued and factored into the division of the estate, and is absolutely the responsibility of the executor. Also, the cost of the funeral should be paid out prior to the division of the estate as it is a debt owing. As already said, nothing should be distributed until the will goes to probate.

My grandmother died earlier this year. My 2 aunts, who were co-executors, are barely speaking - one wanted to do everything by the book, and the other was doing whatever she felt like, including giving stuff to my cousins (her children) and their children.

#15 Greatmum

Posted 30 July 2019 - 10:23 PM

Contact the solicitor who has the will.

It won’t cost you anything any cost will come out of the estate.

Please don’t hand over to the public trustee.




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