What to do if an Executor dies before the Will maker?

What is an Executor?

An Executor of a Will is an individual responsible of taking care of a deceased person’s estate after they pass away. An executor’s main role is to represent the deceased and handle all of their personal, financial and legal affairs. Being an executor of a Will can be challenging often having to learn complicated matters such as legal, financial and taxation. Executors must act in the best interest of the estate therefor an executor should be someone you trust.

A backup Executor/s can be appointed for a Will in case something was to happen to the primary Executor making him/her unable to carry out their duties as executor. A backup Executor/s should also be someone you can count on.

Duties of an Executor

The Executor is responsible for locating, reading and understanding the Will and filing it with the probate court;

The Executor is responsible for determining the Beneficiaries;

The Executor is responsible for distributing assets;

The Executor is responsible for contacting Banks, Credit card companies and government agencies of the deceased passing away;

The Executor is responsible for preparing and managing accounts;

The Executor s responsible for lodging taxation returns;

What happens if the Primary Executor dies before the Will maker?

At the time of appointing a primary Executor, the selected individual whether it be a friend/spouse or a relative may be in good health but unfortunately the appointed Executor may pass away before the Will maker or become ill so that they cannot carry out their role as executor. In cases like this the appointed backup Executor/s is entitled to serve as the Executor with the Estate being managed as usual.

What happens if the executor dies soon after the Will maker?

In the circumstance of the Executor passing away after the Will maker and after having obtained a Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court to have as evidence that they are to administer the Estate, having no backup Executor/s with a Grant of Probate would then mean that the Executor of the Primary Executor would take the place as Executor and serve the role as if they had been appointed Primary Executor having all the duties and responsibilities of the Will maker’s Estate.

What happens if all the Executor/s have died?

If all appointed Executor’s have died before the Will maker and there are no backup Executors to take on the responsibilities of managing the Estate of the deceased, then another individual can apply to the Supreme Court of Victoria to be the administer to then carry out the duties as an Executor.  This is usually a family member.

If we can assist you please contact our office on 9707 1155 or admin@wslegal.com.au.