I often tell people that being an Executor is not an honour, it is a job. An unpaid job where people want their money, don't understand how much time it is costing you, and generally aren't grateful for your input.
Errands, so many errands
What people don't understand I think about being an Executor is that there are so many errands. You need to go to your solicitor's or to a JP, get many many certified copies of the death certificate, and then deliver this to so many places. Places like the bank, Centrelink, the landlord (if they are renting), and their work. Now some of these errands can be taken care of by the solicitor, some, like Centrelink, need to be done by the Executor in person.
Time with the solicitor
If you do indeed get a solicitor to act for you, and we absolutely recommend that you do, you will still need to make yourself available to answer a lot of questions and to give instructions. Some of the questions might involve you physically attending the house, doing an inventory for instance, some of the questions might involve you contacting people to ask them questions.
There are many tasks that the solicitor can do for you and of course the solicitor will know how things have to be done, thereby save you having to work out what to actually do in many cases. A solicitor will definitely save you a lot of time, but there will still be things that you need to do.
After it is all said and done
When you think the Estate is finished, often it isn't. Things can come up, like the Tax Office hasn't been properly notified and is harassing you for a tax return, or the Australian Electoral Commission wasn't properly notified and now there is a fine. If you had a solicitor you can contact them about these things, but it is still more time and more hassle when you thought you were finished.
Be kind to yourself
People can sometimes forget that in the middle of all of this you are grieving too. Be kind to yourself. Set realistic targets, don't let the beneficiaries or the family members hurry you. You have a life, a job, a family, and you are entitled to down time and you need to protect your own physical and emotional well being. Estates take a long time even if you run around like a crazy person, so don't let people harass you to prioritise being an Executor over other more important things in your life.
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I am an Executor, who do I call?
If you are an Executor managing an Estate, or think you might need to update your Will, then you should make an appointment to see Hamish Williams. He is our Estate litigation practitioner so he knows what happens when an Estate isn't property prepared. He can help you with all your Estate administration. We do fixed fees for Estates, and as the Executor you won't pay the fees the Estate will.