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What If The Executor Is Under 18?

The executor of a deceased estate is a person who is appointed to administer the estate in the best interests of the beneficiaries. The responsibilities of an executor include communicating with the beneficiaries, distributing the estate to beneficiaries, paying any creditors of the deceased and organising the deceased’s funeral and burial or cremation. In order to be appointed as executor, a person must be aged 18 or older. This article deals with what happens in situations where the named executor is under 18 at the time of the testator’s death.

Who can act as executor?

Any person who is aged over 18 and is of sound mind and not in prison can act as the executor of a deceased estate.

Responsibilities of an executor

An executor has a number of duties. They must apply for the deceased’s death certificate, apply for a grant of probate and organise the deceased’s funeral. The executor may need to inform the Australian Tax Office and Centrelink of the testator’s death and communicate with banks, insurance companies and superannuation providers.

The executor will need to protect the estate in the interests of the beneficiaries until it can be finalised. This may involve securing premises, obtaining valuations and selling real estate.

If the estate is challenged or contested, the executor must defend it against the action and resolve any disputes that arise between beneficiaries.

Once all of these steps have been taken, the executor must distribute the estate in the interests of the beneficiaries.

The executor has a duty to communicate with the beneficiaries on time. They must provide a copy of the will to any eligible person who seeks one and provide a final account of the estate to the beneficiaries once the estate distribution has been finalised.

Can I name an executor who is under 18?

It is common for a person to make their will when they are still a young adult and their children are still minors. There is nothing to stop a person from naming a minor as executor in their will and this happens commonly, with the testator expecting that the named executor will be an adult by the time they need to be appointed. However, in the event the testator dies before the named executor reaches the age of 18, they will not be able to start acting as executor until they turn 18.

What if the sole executor is under 18?

If a person dies and the only person named as an executor in their will is still a minor, the court will appoint the named executor’s guardian to act as executor. Alternately, the court may appoint another adult who the executor’s guardian agrees should be appointed. When the named executor turns 18, they may take over acting as executor.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Fernanda Dahlstrom

This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She has also completed a Master’s in Writing and Literature. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory and in family law in Queensland.

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