Administering an Estate is an important legal obligation.
A person will become responsible for the administration of an Estate if they are nominated by the deceased person as their Executor in the Will.
In the absence of an express or implied provision for an Executor by the deceased a Court will appoint an administrator, typically the closest surviving next of kin.
If you have been appointed the Executor or administrator of a deceased person’s Estate, you have a number of legal rights and obligations. These duties and obligations include:
One of the first duties of the Executor of an Estate is to arrange the funeral.
The personal representative has the authority to make all decisions regarding the funeral to the exclusion of the next of kin. However in most instances close family or friends attend to the funeral arrangements.
Any costs incurred for the funeral are payable as a first charge against the estate and take priority over any other claim. The arrangements of the funeral must be appropriate, bearing in mind the financial capacity of the Estate of the deceased.
If the deceased had any dependants, minor children or pets, arrangements must be made for their adequate and appropriate care and welfare.
If the deceased lived alone, the Executor must take reasonable steps to ensure the safe custody of the deceased’s home, motor vehicle, possessions etc.
The Executor should attend to the following as soon as possible after the deceased has passed away:
The appointment as a personal representative of an Estate has significant obligations, personal risks and potential liabilities.
Executors owe a duty of care to the beneficiaries of the estate to exercise the same degree of care as would an ordinary prudent business person. The Executor could be personally liable for a breach of this duty.
Given the significant legal obligations and responsibilities expected of a personal representative of an estate it is imperative that you get the right advice as early as possible, as estate administration can be a hard and challenging time.
The team at FC Lawyers have extensive experience in all aspects of estate administration and are well-equipped to assist and advise on the administration of any estate no matter how small or large.
We also understand the implications of cross border and international obligations and have acted for executors who are based overseas and where assets are dispersed around the world.
If you have any questions regarding estate administration or your legal obligations, please contact our Wills and Estates team today.
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