What is an estate executor?
An estate executor is a person who is entrusted with the responsibility for the estate of a deceased person after they have passed away. They have the responsibility for ensuring that there is a comprehensive stock taken of the assets of the deceased person, that all of the debts of the deceased person are paid and that the remainder of the assets are then distributed to the beneficiaries under the will. Naturally, this is all in the course of the normal estate administration process, but there can be many aspects of the estate administration process which do not conform to these simple rules.
What steps does an estate executor need to take?
The first step that an estate executor needs to apply for probate from the Supreme Court of the State in which the decease person resided to have the authority to administer the will. Probate is essentially the legal process by which a valid will is recognised. To apply for probate the person who is applying, who is normally the executor appointed under the will files the will in the court so that the particular version of the will they are relying on is recorded. At this point, there is different procedure required if the person died without a will, otherwise known as being ‘intestate’. If they died without a will, there process is that they apply for letter of administration which allow the executor to administer the estate in accordance with the laws of intestacy which are in operation in that jurisdiction. Also, the executor may need to defend any legal claims against the estate.
What happens if an estate executor is acting improperly?
In most jurisdictions, there is statute which says that an estate executor must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the estate and in accordance with the intentions of the testator. If this is not occurring it is possible to make a court application and the court which granted probate can remove the executor of the will and replace them or censure them from taking certain actions which they do not have the proper legal authority to take. If you have a question about being an estate executor or the actions of an estate executor, you can chat to a lawyer now by clicking on the window to the top right or use the contact form to post your question to us.