When it comes to the Executor of your Will or Trustee of your Trust, there are many reasons you may choose to nominate an independent professional.
When you're considering who to appoint as Executor of your Will, or considering who to appoint as a Trustee, it’s important to consider the financial and legal obligations that come with the role as they can be numerous and complex.
Why do people choose to appoint an independent professional as their Executor or Trustee?
There are many reasons people choose to nominate an independent professional such as:
- Their Will or Trust structure is complex and requires high level knowledge and experience;
- Their family situation is likely to pose a challenge - for example, there may be strained relationships between family members, balancing to be achieved between beneficiaries in a blended family, beneficiaries with mental health or addiction issues, or someone you intend to exclude from benefit; and/or
- They don't want to burden their friends or family with the responsibility (and potential liabilities) associated with these roles.
In some cases, people may decide to appoint an independent professional to act jointly with a family member or friend.
How can our lawyers help you?
At Burke & Associates Lawyers we have over 30 years of experience acting as independent professional Executors and Trustees.
Our lawyers understand the important financial and legal obligations, and they are highly skilled in areas such as wills, estate and succession planning, deceased estates, property and conveyancing, banking and finance, business and commercial services, litigation and dispute resolution. Our lawyers are well positioned to manage any issues that may arise for Executors and Trustees, and you can be assured that you have selected an experienced team of legal professionals.
How does it work and what do we do as Executors and Trustees?
As your Executor, it is the responsibility of our lawyers to administer your Estate on your behalf once you pass away.
Your Estate comprises all of your personally owned assets, such as houses, bank accounts or shares, and your liabilities, such as any mortgages or credit card debts. Our role as your Executor is to call in your assets, pay your liabilities, and then distribute the remaining assets between your beneficiaries.
There are many duties associated with the role of Executor and our experienced team of lawyers are uniquely qualified to manage the duties necessary such as:
- Ensuring your assets are sufficiently protected so that they can be passed to your beneficiaries as intended;
- Defending the Estate against any legal action;
- Resolving disputes between beneficiaries if they arise;
- Dealing with any real estate that forms part of your Estate; and
- Setting up and administering testamentary trusts created by your Will.
As a Trustee, it is the responsibility of our lawyers to administer the Trust on behalf of the beneficiaries of the trust.
There are many types of trust structures available and no matter why or how the trust operates, the primary duty of our lawyers as your Trustee is to always act in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the Trust.
All the duties that are associated with the role of Trustee are an extension of this primary duty to the beneficiaries. These duties can include:
- The duty to preserve trust property;
- Duties to invest and insure the trust property;
- The duty to act in good faith;
- The duty of loyalty to beneficiaries;
- The duty to keep accounts and supply information;
- The duty to consider whether to exercise a discretion; and
- The duty to act impartially between beneficiaries.
When considering who to appoint as Executor of your Will or considering who to appoint as a Trustee of your Trust, it is crucial to understand the breadth and weight of the responsibility you are entrusting to an individual family member or friend. In some circumstances, the best and most appropriate decision is to appoint an independent professional and the lawyers at Burke & Associates have the experience and expertise to support and assist you with your planning and ensure that your wishes are managed on your behalf exactly as you would like them to be.