When someone dies, the deceased person’s assets are called the estate. Most of the time, the deceased person has left instructions on what needs to happen with the estate and these instructions are recorded in a document called a Will. The people who will inherit the deceased person’s estate are called the beneficiaries.
A deceased estate consists of all assets and liabilities held by the deceased at the time of death.
Assets may include bank accounts, shareholdings, real estate and personal effects such as furniture and jewellery.
Liabilities may include mortgages and personal loans. Generally liabilities are paid from the estate assets before distribution to beneficiaries.
The role of the executor
An executor is responsible for ensuring someone’s final wishes are carried out. Being an executor often means having to make some difficult decisions. It helps to have some experience in finance, business or law.
The executor’s role begins as soon as the deceased has passed away. The executor may need to arrange for the funeral, locate the original Will, apply for probate, inform beneficiaries, and follow up any special instructions from the deceased.
The executor may also have to:
- arrange the funeral
- apply for a grant of probate (they must be over 18 when they apply)
- collect all the assets and have them valued, if needed
- find out what debts are owed and pay them from the money made by selling the assets
- arrange tax returns
- claim life insurance
- distribute the estate according to Will
- defend legal action on behalf of the estate.
If you have any questions about deceased estates or executorship, we can help.
State Trustees has decades of experience in estate planning and can provide expert and impartial advice.
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