Are You Sure You Want to Execute Your Wealthy Friend's Estate?

Posted on: 21 September 2018

During the course of a friendly and relaxed conversation with a lifetime friend, he or she may have asked you if you would stand as the executor of their estate. This may seem to be a relatively straightforward task, and as you are so close, you may be tempted to agree without too much further thought. However, this individual may have been particularly successful in their life and had amassed a complicated estate, with many elements to consider in the event of their passing. Certainly, they may have created a will which should in theory cover matters, but do you need to pause and consider your position as well?

The Power of Money

It's unfortunate, but wherever there is a significant amount of money, disagreements may follow. Certain individuals who were in one way or another connected with the ultimately deceased party may decide that they have a claim to part of the estate. As the appointed executor, you will need to deal with this type of scenario, and it can get very complicated indeed.

Distribution and Time Limits

For example, one individual may decide that they are going to contest the will, as they did not feel that they had the appropriate share of the deceased estate. In this case, you will need to conform with the specific rules laid down by your state or territory. You need to find out if they have a "family provision" claim, as this is time bound and you may need to delay other actions while it is being processed.

In the worst-case scenario, you might distribute some of the assets of the estate believing that you were just fulfilling your duties. If you do so before the relevant time limit elapses in your area, the other individual may be able to claim against you. Ultimately, you may have to recover the funds or make up the difference yourself.

Challenge and Caveat

Alternatively, a separate individual may take umbrage at your appointment, feeling that you were "too close" to the deceased and not able to administer the estate, at least to their liking. They may couch their protest in vague terms, but they may be seeking to overrule your position so that they can get more money at the end of the day. 

If they are particularly intent on rocking the boat in this way, then they can put a caveat against the estate, which could force a considerable delay. You may have to defend your position as a nominated executor, or at least ensure that somebody else can be appointed without objection, to take over from you.

Pause for Thought

Maybe you should take some time to think before you agree to your friend's request. In the meantime, you can consult with a deceased estate lawyer, so that they can help answer your many and varied questions.


Selling my house to the kids

I am getting older and the family house is a bit too much for me these days. My daughter has offered to buy the family house from me and will let me continue to live in the granny flat. I want to make sure it's all legal and doesn't impact on my arrangements in my will. I know that there are a lot of older people in the same position as me: looking to keep the house in the family, seeking extra cash, and trying to avoid legal issues later. This blog has the tips on how to make sure the arrangement is legal and suits everyone.