The Duty of the Executor in Defending a Will

What is an executor?

An executor (male) or executrix (female) is the person named in a Will to carry out the wishes of the deceased after they have passed.

If you are named as an executor, you are under no obligation to accept the responsibility. Instead, if a substituted executor has also been named in the Will, the duties can be delegated to them and you will be exempt from all obligations. If no other executor is named, then you can apply to the court to appoint an administrator.

Duties of an executor generally

  • Organise the funeral and burial/cremation of the deceased
  • Locate the will and beneficiaries
  • Apply for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration to obtain authority to administer the estate
  • Protect and collect the assets of the deceased’s estate
  • Provide the court with an inventory of the estate’s assets
  • Pay all estate debts and costs in administrating the estate
  • Take all necessary steps to distribute the estate according to the wishes of the deceased as written in the will

Duties of an executor in defending a will

  • To not distribute the estate until the Family Provision or Contested Will Claim is determined by the court
  • Assist the court where necessary in making relevant documentation available
  • Provide details of the deceased’s estate assets and liabilities
  • To declare a conflict of interest to the court if one is to arise between yourself as the executor and any of the beneficiary parties during the process of defending a will. This allows for a new representative to be appointed as executor.

Who pays?

When defending a Will, as the executor you may use money from the estate to cover necessary expenses and in most cases payment will not be required until an outcome has been reached. See our page on ‘Defending a Will Legal Costs’ for more information regarding payment.

Remember – as an executor of a Will that is being challenged, the first step should always be to gain legal advice. So, if this is you or if you would simply just like some more information, do not hesitate to contact the team at Hentys Lawyers.

If you have any queries, our Defending a Will FAQs are a great place to start. Alternatively, contact Hentys Lawyers today to find out more about our services in contesting, challenging and defending wills.