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Choosing an independent executor
Written by Rachel Zarb
You might think it’s a compliment to appoint a relative or close friend as the executor of your Will – but in many cases, executors are left overwhelmed, unsure and can find the role is a burden.
John* had four sons. His wife pre-deceased him, leaving all her assets to John. With this inheritance and his own estate, John’s net worth was about $1.5 million.
Following his wife’s death, John updated his own Will to divide his estate equally between his four sons and to appoint his eldest son, Jack as executor. His estate largely comprised of his home in Sydney, which he lived in with his youngest son, Edward, who was providing care and support to John in his old age.
When John passed away, Edward argued that he was entitled to a larger share of the estate because he was providing support to John for years before his death, and that he needed the money more than his siblings.
Edward contested the Will and the case ended up in court for many years, prolonging distribution of any assets and costing all parties significantly.
John’s story is just one of many that we see at NSW Trustee & Guardian, where family dynamics create expectations or feelings of unfairness, resulting in conflict and ultimately disappointment for those involved.
At the heart of these cases is relationships, and while we don’t like to think that our close family or friends will be in conflict with each other when the time comes, the reality is that circumstances change and people come and go.
That’s why NSW Trustee & Guardian is encouraging people to think ahead and choose an independent executor.
An executor is the person or organisation responsible for carrying out the directions in your Will when you pass away.
They are responsible for complex tasks such as selling assets, paying any liabilities, ensuring tax affairs are in order and distributing assets and funds.
To effectively administer an estate you need to be able to deal with legal, financial and accounting issues, and it can be very time consuming - sometimes it can feel like a full time, ongoing job in itself. If the Will is contested, it is the executor who is responsible for defending the claim and representing the estate in the litigation, which can be a stressful experience.
By appointing an independent, impartial executor like NSW Trustee & Guardian you can relieve your close family and friends from this burden.
NSW Trustee & Guardian is the expert in estate administration with specialist teams in legal and trustee services, finance and tax to manage your estate. Our job is to carry out the wishes of your Will efficiently and effectively. We are unbiased, trustworthy and are focussed on respecting your wishes.
Finalising a person’s affairs while grieving can be daunting and emotionally challenging for the person you nominate.
So, instead of burdening a loved one – choose an independent executor for the future.
* Names and identifying details may have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
All of a person’s property including real and personal e.g. bank accounts, realty, shares in companies, cash etc.