An Executor ensures your wealth is protected
and distributed properly

As part of your Will, you need to appoint an executor to manage and distribute your estate in accordance with your wishes, after your death. It is a role that comes with many responsibilities, as outlined in the summary below.

Appointing an executor

Have you considered who should be your executor? Often a friend or relative is appointed without really understanding the responsibilities of the role. Acting as an executor can impose a significant burden during a time of grief and can be a complex, lengthy and emotionally draining role to fulfil.

A prudent option is to appoint a trustee company that can expertly and impartially coordinate all legal, administrative, investment and taxation requirements to ensure your estate is administered correctly.


Equity Trustees has managed the complexities of administering an estate with professionalism and respect for all parties, ensuring the wishes of the deceased are met and that family members and beneficiaries are not burdened.

As a trustee company, we can be appointed as executor or co-executor of your estate through your Will. We may also be appointed to administer a deceased estate by an executor who does not wish to take up the appointment, or by the next of kin if there is no valid Will.

Executor Duties:

  • 1

    Stage 1: Preliminary steps

    • Make the necessary arrangements for a funeral.
    • Liaise with family members, friends and business and legal advisers to ascertain the details of an estate, including specific information about assets and liabilities.
    • Gather all necessary documents, keys and valuables.
    • Protect the estate, including physically securing assets and ensuring all property is insured.
    • Verify assets, including valuation, and calculate the net value of the estate as well as establish capital gains tax (CGT) records.
    • Advertise notice of intention to apply for a grant of representation (e.g. probate or letters of administration) of the deceased’s last Will, where applicable.
    • Obtain a grant of representation from the relevant Supreme Court.
  • 2

    Stage 2: Assets and liabilities

    • Collect all assets, including redeeming non-transferable assets (e.g. bank accounts) and preparing applicable transfers for the distribution stage.
    • Advertise for creditors and determine all of the deceased’s liabilities.
    • Obtain income tax clearance to the date of death.
    • Raise or defend any legal action by or against the estate if required.
    • Pay liabilities.
    • Commence distributing the estate, including paying legacies and handing over specific bequests
    • Wait out the family provision challenge period – this is a statutory period of time in which claims can be made for provision from the estate or greater provision than that specified in the Will. (This varies between States/Territories up to a maximum of 12 months from the date of death.)
    • Prepare final estate income tax returns and pay any outstanding tax.
  • 3

    Stage 3: Distribution

    • Arrange the final distribution of the estate, including the transfer of remaining assets and/or establishing trusts as required.
    • Send final statements to beneficiaries.
    • Deliver correspondence confirming the estate administration has been finalised.
    • Provide a capital gains tax cost base of assets to beneficiaries as required.
  • 4

    Stage 4: If establishing a trust

    • Act as trustee, including continuing the administration and management of assets.
    • Important: An executors duties do not necessarily end once the final distribution has been made. The executor may have to continue in the role of trustee in circumstances such as:
    • When assets are held for children under the age of 18
    • When income from an estate is payable to beneficiaries during their lifetime.
    • When there is a perpetual charitable trust.
    • The above list is not exhaustive and indicative only. Tasks may vary depending on the nature of the assets