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Deceased Estates

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What are an executor's responsibilites?
In general terms, an executer's duty is to take charge of the deceased's assets and property, see that the funeral and administrative expenses as well as debts and taxes are paid, and finally to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the will.

You will have to begin by finding out and making a list of everything the deceased owned or was entitled to. The list could include home, car, money a bank or building society accounts, furniture, household appliances, jewellery, share and other investments, insurance policies, superannuation, and holiday pay from work.

In addition, if the estate is to be divided among several beneficiaries, the assets may have to be valued.

Next you will have to apply to the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court for a grant of probate. Probate is an order of the court saying that the will is valid and that the executer has the right to administer the estate.

When applying for probate you will need to complete a number of forms which are prepared by your solicitor or are available in blank form from a law stationer, you will also need documentary evidence of death, proof of proper signing and attestation of the will, and details of assets and liabilities, among other things.

Your solicitor can advise you in detail about the rights and responsibilities of an executer and prepare and help you to complete the forms needed to apply for probate.

Details supplied by Foulsham & Geddes, Solicitors
99 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Tel: 02) 9232 8033

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