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Executor Of Estate in Perth

The executor of the estate in Perth is the person who administers the deceased estate and carries out a testator’s wishes as they are set out in the will. As the role of personal representative is a serious undertaking, it is crucial that a testator choose their executor carefully, with consideration to who would be most suitable in carrying out the task. This article provides insight into choosing the right person given the responsibilities of an executor of estate in Perth.

Who Acts as the Executor Of An Estate In Perth?

A testator must name at least one executor in his or her will to oversee the administration of the estate following their death. The executor carries out the testator’s instructions as they are outlined in the will (as long as they are legally possible) and acts as the personal representative of the deceased estate.

Selecting An Executor Of Estate In Perth

When a testator is selecting the person to act as their personal representative, they need to consider the qualities that are necessary for this particular role. An executor of estate in Perth should be a capable adult, with adequate attention to detail, basic administrative abilities and excellent communication skills. While it is most common for a testator to select a family member as their executor, sometimes a testator may feel that their family would struggle to meet these expectations. In addition, it can be difficult for a family member struggling with grief to tackle the practical tasks involved in administration of a deceased estate. In these cases, it is sensible to employ a professional in the role of executor.  

A solicitor, for instance, can act as the personal representative in an independent, impartial way. Solicitors are also familiar with all the legal complications that come with obtaining probate and administering more complex testamentary instructions. However, appointing a solicitor as an executor will incur fees that the estate would not have to pay to a family member.

Appointing Multiple Executors Of Estate In Perth

Solicitors will usually recommend that a testator name multiple executors in their will, to cover all eventualities. Perhaps one executor predeceases the testator, or circumstances change so that it is impossible for another executor to meet their commitment. A testator may want to name four or even more executors in their will, on the assumption that only one or two will actually be in a position to accept the responsibility.

As a testator may name in their will more than one person as possible executor, any or all of these executors can apply for probate. One executor can apply while the other named individuals lend their approval to the application and either renounce their own appointment or reserve their right to file for probate at a later date.  Alternatively, several people can apply to serve as co-executors to share the responsibilities of administering the estate. This may be the most sensible solution, allowing each executor to work towards his or her strengths, and allowing for consultation and oversight.

Responsibilities Of An Executor Of Estate In Perth

The executor is responsible for a range of duties, depending on the testator’s instructions and the size and complexity of the estate. An executor may be tasked to perform any of the following duties:

  • Locate the original will;
  • Arrange the burial, cremation and funeral;
  • Obtain probate to administer the estate;
  • Assume control of and value the assets of the estate;
  • Caretake the assets of the estate and arrange insurance and storage as necessary;
  • Arrange management of property and business enterprises;
  • Complete any outstanding taxation documentation;
  • Pay the liabilities and debts of the estate;
  • Establish any testamentary trusts as instructed; and
  • Prepare a final statement pertaining to the administration of the estate and transfer bequests to the beneficiaries.

The fundamental duty of the executor of estate in Perth is to safeguard and protect the estate and the rights of the beneficiaries to inherit. The executor has a fiduciary duty to ensure that the beneficiaries do not suffer under their administration of the estate. As such, it is critical that the executor not only keep meticulous records of their actions and transactions, but also that the executor does not unduly delay the process so that the beneficiaries have to wait to receive their inheritance. There is a general expectation that the executor will discharge their duties within twelve months of the testator’s death, or in what is called the executor’s year.

Executor Of Estate Perth: Commission

Given the scope of responsibility involved in being executor of estate in Perth, some people might assume that there would be some sort of reward for all the executor’s hard work. A professional executor is paid an appropriate fee, but a family member is typically a beneficiary of the will and so acts without fee because it is in their own interests to appropriately manage the estate. However, there is allowance under the Trustees Act 1962 for an executor to apply to the Supreme Court of Western Australia for an executor’s commission. The court will order that a reasonable commission be paid for the executor’s services, up to a maximum of 5% of the gross estate value.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.


Nicola Bowes

Dr Nicola Bowes holds a Bachelor of Arts with first-class honours from the University of Tasmania, a Bachelor of Laws with first-class honours from the Queensland University of Technology, and a PhD from The University of Queensland. After a decade of working in higher education, Nicola joined Go To Court Lawyers in 2020.

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