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Being an executor is challenging, but someone has to do it. If that person is you, be sure to understand what you're getting into before you jump on in to the honour of the role.

If you are appointed as executor, you are responsible for identifying, locating, managing, and protecting all of the assets of the estate until they are distributed to the beneficiaries. The executor is also responsible for ensuring all of the valid liabilities of the estate are paid from estate funds. Where there is more than one executor, you should consult with each other and agree on a course of action.

As Executor you also need to keep full and accurate records of how the estate has been managed and distributed and should provide a summary of the financial transactions for the estate to the beneficiaries.

The executor/s is/are responsible for any tax returns to be lodged on behalf of the deceased and the estate.

If a conflict arises, as the executor, your primary duty is to uphold the will and protect the estate. You cannot take sides with one or more beneficiaries and you need to try to mediate a resolution to the conflict.

More detail on this topic can be found in our free, downloadable Executor Toolkit (page 3 includes a handy checklist on all the steps to finalise an estate) or you can find more information about estate planning and wills generally, including who to speak to about your particular circumstances, here on our website.