Peter J Jackson, Funeral Directors
Choosing and Executor
Peter J Jackson, Funeral Directors
PO box 15 Merredin 6415 08 9041 1054
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What does an executor have to do?
Even in the most simple cases, executors can be required to provide the following services themselves, or by arranging for them to be completed by the relevant professionals. Seriously consider whether you should entrust these tasks to a family member or friend, who may not have either the time or the expertise to perform the following tasks:  Notify beneficiaries When a person dies, the executor locates the Will and immediately contacts the beneficiaries and any relevant business associates. Look after the estate It is important to make sure that all assets are safe and arrange insurance protection when needed. If the deceased has left property or investments that need managing, it is the executor's job to arrange for them to be looked after The immediate needs of the family must also be assessed and steps taken to ensure they do not suffer any unnecessary financial hardship. Value the estate the Executor must identify all assets and liabilities.Each item is then checked to see if it is correct by obtaining written confirmation from banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, share registers, titles offices, creditors etc.Each asset must then be valued by obtaining sworn valuations, writing to relevant institutions, looking up stock market prices or any other appropriate means. Obtain authority to administer the estate Before an estate can be administered, the executor must apply to the Supreme Court for the right to deal with the deceased's estate if the estate is valued at 50,000.00 or over, or if probate is requested. Complete income tax returns' s Before an estate can be distributed, it is necessary to obtain a clearance from the Australian Taxation Office This means that the executor will have to give details or an income earned during the current financial year and past years, if the deceased has failed to lodge a return. In many cases the calculation of Capital Gains Tax is involved. Pay all debts Creditors, funeral expenses, income tax, fees for administering the estate and out of pocket expenses must all be paid. This often requires the executor to sell some assets. Beneficiaries may choose to provide funds to cover these expenses so as to keep the assets intact. Divide the estate When all debts have been paid, the executor is then free to distribute the remaining assets according to the directions laid down in the Will. Establish trusts Executors are responsible for setting up trusts for beneficiaries. Trusts are required if the beneficiary is under 18 years of age or mentally incapable, or if there are specific instructions in the Will. Such trusts need ongoing administration, often over many years. There is a common misconception that it is a compliment to appoint a friend or relative your executor and that it is a position of privilege. Many people believe that appointing a friend also means significant savings in the cost of administering the estate.  In reality, this is not the case at all. The duties expected of an executor can be difficult, demanding and time consuming. In short, being an executor is a daunting task. In most cases, an executor will require legal representation or advice which of course involves costs and liabilities to the estate. He or she should be aware of the legal responsibilities and have some understanding of accounting, business practices and taxation, particularly where Capital Gains Tax is applicable.
A Question of Trust While most people would like to think of their relatives as being extremely trustworthy, it is precisely at the time of a loved one's death that this trust can be most severely tested. Family squabbles and petty jealousies can often come into play, resulting in accusations of favouritism towards some family members over others. This adds unnecessary pressure which could result in questionable judgments, especially during a period of grief.   For these reasons it is recommended you appoint a completely independent executor. One who is totally impartial to all parties and one who is conversant with all aspects of administering an estate.   The office of the Public Trustee processes thousands of Wills annually in its role as an independent executor. It is beyond reproach and dedicated to carrying out your every wish to the letter.   "Everything is jointly owned so why do I need a Will?"   In some cases, traffic accidents for example, partners can die at the same time. You should provide inheritance instructions which cover this eventuality. Related Link : Who can dispute my Will
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