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Role & Duties of an Executor - Grant of Probate
When an individual writes and executes a will they usually have a trusted friend or relative in mind to deal with their affairs after they have gone. The person appointed under a will to take on this responsibility is the executor (there may be more than one appointed) and that person has a particular role to play which comes with responsibilities and legally enforceable duties. Most individuals who are appointed as executors do not deal with the administration of the estate themselves but employ a specialist probate solicitor to deal with the executors duties on their behalf.
Application to the Court
The executor derives power from the will itself however in order to obtain a Grant of Probate, the executor must submit various documentation to the court including a sworn affidavit together with an itemised estimate of the testators assets and liabilities. The court thereafter considers the documentation and in the absence of reasons to do otherwise, issues the Grant of Probate to the executor. The court appointed executor is then in a position to carry out their legal duty by calling in the liquidated assets and paying out the estates creditors, before distributing the estate in accordance with the wishes of the deceased.
Duty of Care
As part of an executors duties they must act in the utmost good faith regarding the beneficiaries to whom the executor owes a duty of care. If a beneficiary believes that an executor is not discharging the legal duties and responsibilities properly or is acting in bad faith or is dishonest, an application can be made to the court to dismiss and in that situation the court will appoint a new executor. It must be said that the courts are reluctant to follow this course of action and strong evidence of misbehaviour is necessary to dismiss an executor.
Our specialist wills and probate solicitors deal with contested and disputed cases. Our solicitors will make application to dismiss an executor or administrator where necessary. If you would like free advice, just complete the contact form or email our offices or use the helpline and a solicitor will speak too you on the phone, with no further obligation.LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 455 260
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