What Your Executor Needs to Know

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In this podcast, Mahendra Mohan discusses a very important document that your executor needs to know about.

Helping out your Attorney and Executor

Estate planning does not end once you have prepared your Will and Enduring Powers of Attorney.  In my view, what is further necessary is to prepare communication and preferably in writing to your said executor and/or power of attorney.  The reason communication is required is to ensure that your executor and power of attorney are aware of firstly, where your Will and Enduring Power of Attorney are kept.  This will ensure that critical time is not lost if an attorney requires the Enduring Power of Attorney to help make urgent decisions. Secondly, it provides the attorney in particular with instructions on the parameters of their powers.

Generally, where husband and wife appoint each other, then it is likely that the survivor or the attorney will be aware of where the documents are kept.  However, it is also the case that my clients will appoint an accountant, family, and friends in the role of being an executor and power of attorney.

It then becomes critical that the appointed persons know, as I said before, where the Will and Enduring Power of Attorney is kept, where your bank accounts are, which bank account to use if you maintain multiple accounts, ie. a funeral account or a savings account or grandchildren account, to listing your funeral wishes and whether or not you have purchased a plot or have paid for your funeral.  You will also need to provide information regarding what assets you have and where they are situated.  For example, clients may have property not only in Australia but in the United States, England or may receive overseas pension and therefore, by preparing a list of your assets and liabilities, you will help the executor and indeed, your power of attorney in looking after your estate. Details of shares and all investments of if they are directors of any company. Importantly, details of all children and stepchildren should be provide.

Another critical component is that you need to communicate with the executor and power of attorney if you are, yourself, an attorney for someone or an executor.  Because, in the event of you losing capacity or dying, the executor must let other people know so that they can change their document to reflect your unavailability to act as their attorney or executor.

Where clients do appoint someone other than an immediate family member as executor or attorney, then we do provide an executor’s dossier to the client to complete and provide to the executor.  I do get clients to complete the document and return it to us and then we put that document with their Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney in the safe.

Other things to consider would be if there is a safe, then where is the key kept or what are the codes so that access can be obtained to the safe by your chosen executor or power of attorney.  A good test is that if you do not want your attorney to know your financial position or your personal details, then that person should not be appointed. Alternatively, details can be provided directly to the executors or attorneys.

It can also deal with issues like, burial or cremation and client’s wishes for the service;

I find that the executor’s dossier is most helpful and that the value of assistance it provides to an executor and power of attorney is invaluable.

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