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When a loved one dies, an executor is often named in their will. The executor’s role is to oversee the distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries of the will.

The estate of a loved one is considered to be everything owned by them at the time of death. This can include:

  • Finances, including all cash, bank or building society accounts and any life insurance policies
  • Any money indebted to them
  • Shares
  • Real estate property
  • Personal possessions
  • Superannuation.

The executor’s first step to manage the estate will be to list all the property and assets that are included in the estate. This is known as an inventory of property.


Obtaining probate

The executor of the will must obtain probate, the legal authority to distribute and manage the estate. Probate is the process that you need to go through when someone has died and left a will that names you as their executor. It involves making an application that proves that the will maker is deceased, their will is valid, and the person who is making the application is the executor. If all that is proven, the Court will grant that person permission to deal with the deceased’s estate.

Paying debts

After the executor has been granted probate, they must pay off any debts owed by the estate before any inheritance can be distributed to beneficiaries.

There is a set order in which to pay off the debts of the estate:

The cost of the funeral. You may be able to pay for funeral expenses even before probate is granted. Administration expenses. This may include legal costs and probate fees. Tax, including income tax and capital gains tax. Any other debts.

Distribution of the estate

Once all the estate’s debts have been paid, the executor will prepare a document called the distribution report, detailing any assets that have been sold and debts that have been paid. This report will be given to each beneficiary along with their inheritance.

Need an Estate Planning Lawyer?

We understand you’ve got a lot to deal with right now – especially if you’re responsible for managing the affairs of your loved one.

When the funeral is over, you may need to apply for the right to deal with your loved one’s estate: their property, money and possessions. Let us help.

We can connect you with probate and estate planning experts to help you organise your estate and create the legal documents to protect you and your loved ones should you fall ill or pass away unexpectedly.


About eziFunerals

eziFunerals supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company. We are not part of any other funeral company.

Our member Funeral Directors operate in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Australia wide. They are chosen for their knowledge, quality, service, personalisation and experience. They go above and beyond, and will take the time to support the family.

For more information or to make contact with a trusted Independent funeral director, call eziFunerals on 1300 236 402 or visit www.ezifunerals.com.au.