I’ve been named executor, what do I do?

Before you start, make sure you understand what’s involved, because it can be more difficult (and expensive) to hand things over after you’ve begun.

Also, be aware:

  • you can be held personally liable if something goes wrong while you're handling the estate
  • this is likely to take at least 7 months, often longer, due to needing to, by law, wait at least 6 months before you can distribute the assets. 

What an executor does

Executors must follow the steps outlined in the Succession Act 1981.

Among other things, this usually includes:

  • obtaining probate (the legal authority to handle the estate) from the Supreme Court of Queensland
    • This involves advertising, and lodging paperwork with the Supreme Court. (The Public Trustee can do this for you for a fee.)
  • locating and notifying beneficiaries
  • verifying and protecting assets
  • confirming insurance of assets
  • collecting valuables and income
  • determining and paying debts and liabilities
  • preparing tax returns
  • obtaining income tax clearances
  • transferring assets
  • preparing financial statements and distributing the estate.

There’s a lot involved, and you may wish to hand over duties to a solicitor or the Public Trustee.

If you would like an estimate of how much it would cost to have the Public Trustee act as the executor of the estate, you can calculate one using our estate administration fee estimator.

More information

Last published: 21/01/2020 12:37:11 AM