Being an executor to a Will is a very special role, and it’s more than just a job. Technically, it refers to a person or institution appointed by a testator to carry out the terms of their Will. Put simply, this involves making sure their debts are paid and that their assets and possessions go where the testator wanted them to.

The role of being an executor carries with it a very special duty known as a fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care in equity or common law. A fiduciary relationship encompasses the idea of faith, confidence, and trust. The word is derived from a Latin word meaning trust. This means that the executor must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the estate.

The courts stringently examine transactions between people involved in fiduciary relationships. If an individual breaches their fiduciary duties, then the beneficiaries may be entitled to damages, even if they have suffered no harm.

You are entitled to name as many executors as you like in your Will, but people usually name just one or two. To make sure the whole process runs smoothly some choose to name a solicitor as one of the executors, but the solicitor may charge a fee for their expertise in administering estates.

If someone has named you sole executor, it’s usually still a good idea to consult a solicitor, just to make sure you get it right. After all, administering an estate isn’t always straightforward and, as executor, you can be held liable if you get it wrong.

The role of the executor is not one to be taken lightly.

Please note the answers provided are for your general information only and we ask you to call our office on 02 6331 2911 to obtain detailed legal advice for your individual situation.

Wills & Estates | Kenny Spring Solicitors