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Adrian Corbould: An executor being sued personally in an estate. Yes, it can happen, but how to avoid it? Hello, I’m Adrian Corbould, Accredited Specialist, Wills & Estates at Turnbull Hill Lawyers continuing the Battle of Wills Series where I talk about contested estate matters. We’ve talked in the past about how an executor is personally responsible in administering and distributing an estate. What protections are there to protect them in doing this?

Section 93 of the Succession Act sets out five criteria that must be met for an executor to be protected from any claims after they distribute the estate. What do they have to do? The first one is more than six months has to pass from the date of death for them to distribute. Second one is they have to have published a notice that they intend to distribute the estate. The third one is the notice has to indicate that that would not occur for at least 30 days from the date of the notice.

The fourth one is that time period has to have passed. The fifth and last is at the time of distribution, the executor is not on a notice of any family provision claim. If all those five criteria are met, the executor can safely distribute the estate and be protected personally if any claims come from creditors or what have you. Now, I always keep in mind that although it is a six-month time period, there is a 12-month time limit for possible family provision claimants to bring their claim.

In those instances where it’s possible a family provision claim may be brought, often it’s best to not distribute until that 12 months has passed to provide that additional protection. I hope this has been of interest to you. Talk again next time. Thank you.

Turnbull Hill Lawyers, and specifically Adrian Corbould and Mary Windeyer, have been named in the prestigious 2022 Doyles Guide. Both were also listed in the 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018 guides.

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