If the deceased leaves behind a Will, they would have appointed a person to execute his or her Will. This person is known as the executor. So what happens when you are appointed as the executor of a Will? Is it very troublesome? Do I have any liabilities as an executor?
To execute a will, the executor will need to submit relevant documents, including a true copy of the specific Will, to the court, to apply for the Grant of Probate. The Grant of Probate is a court order that authorizes the executor to administer the deceased’s estate according to the content of the Will.
What are the duties of an executor?
The executor may be required to perform the following, depending on the content of the Will:
- Apply for Grant of Probate
- Extract the Grant of Probate
- Make arrangements for the funeral of deceased
- Consolidate the total assets and liabilities of the deceased
- Settle any outstanding income tax liability of the deceased, according to section 58 of the Income Tax Act
- Pursue any debts owed to the deceased
- Settle any debts and liabilities of the deceased. In the case of an insolvent estate, the order of priority in the repayment of debts can be found in the Bankruptcy Act, after fulfillment of the First Schedule of the Probate and Administration Act. In the case of a solvent estate, the order of repayment can be found in the Second Schedule of the Probate and Administration Act;
- Lastly, distribute the assets to the beneficiaries or their guardians, according to the Will.
As an executor, you are supposed to make sure you have helped the deceased clear off all the outstanding debts and loans before passing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. If you do not do your due diligence in settling the debts and loans, you will be liable and you have to fork out money to settle the debts.
How long does the process take?
The process starts from applying the probate to distributing the assets to the beneficiaries typically takes around 6 months to a year. If the Will is contested, the process will be delayed.
Who can be an executor?
These are the requirements:
- Must be above 21 years old
- Must not be a bankrupt
- Must be mentally sound