What If The Executor is Under 18?

The executor of a deceased estate is someone who is appointed to administer the estate in the beneficiaries’ best interests. It is often a friend or family member of the testator but may also be a professional, such as their lawyer or accountant. The executor is responsible for communicating with the beneficiaries, distributing the estate, paying the deceased’s creditors and organising their funeral and cremation or burial. In order to be appointed as executor, a person must be at least 18 years of age. This article deals with what happens when the person named as executor is under 18 at the time of the testator’s death.

Any person who is over 18 and of sound mind and not incarcerated can act as the executor of a deceased estate.

Who Can Act As Executor?

Any person who is over 18 and of sound mind and not incarcerated can act as the executor of a deceased estate.

The executor’s responsibilities 

The executor must obtain the deceased’s death certificate, apply for a grant of probate and organise the deceased’s funeral. They may need to inform Centrelink and the Australian Tax Office of the person’s death and communicate with insurance companies, banks and superannuation providers in order to arrange the discharge of loans and payment of entitlements.

The executor will need to protect the estate in the beneficiaries’ interests until the estate can be finalised. This may involve securing premises, obtaining valuations and selling real estate or other property.

If the estate becomes subject to a challenge or contest, the executor must defend it against the legal action and resolve any disputes between the beneficiaries.

Once all of the above has been done, the executor must distribute the estate in the interests of the beneficiaries.

The executor must communicate with the beneficiaries in a timely manner. They must also provide a copy of the will or access to the will to any eligible person who requests one and they must provide a final account of the estate to the beneficiaries after the estate distribution has been finalised.

Can I Choose An Executor Who Is Under 18?

It is common to make one’s will when a person is still young and their children are still minors. There is nothing to stop a testator from naming a minor as the executor in their will and this happens often, as the testator generally expects that the named executor will have reached the legal age by the time they need to be appointed. However, if a testator dies before the named executor reaches 18, the young person will not be able to start acting as executor until they reach the age of 18.

What If The Sole Executor Is Under 18?

If a person dies and the only named executor in their will is still a minor, the court will appoint the legal guardian of the named person to act as executor. Alternately, the court may appoint another person who the executor’s guardian agrees should be appointed. When the named executor reached the age of 18, they may take over the role of executor.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Author

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection, domestic violence and family law in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
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