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Adrian Corbould: If you’re not in it for love, get out of here.

Hi, I’m Adrian Corbould, Accredited Specialist in Wills & Estates at Turnbull Hill Lawyers. I talk about contested estates and Wills generally.

Renunciation. Your executor has a very important job to do. They have to gather in the assets administer the estate and distribute it to all the beneficiaries. It’s basically a thankless job and often unpaid. The pay, if there is any, is generally whatever legacy the executor has been left and if they’ve been left nothing they have to apply for commission, which the residual beneficiaries either have to consent to, and if they don’t, have to apply to the court. Very painful process.

If it’s unpaid and it’s thankless, then why would anyone do it? The deceased has entrusted the executor to do this job. They thought this is the person I want to carry out my wishes, but they don’t have to do it. If an executor is appointed, they do not have to take on the role. They can renounce, and what is that process? Not very hard. They just file a form in the Supreme Court saying,” I renounce my position as executor. I have not intermeddled in the estate,” and they lose all power.

It cannot be revoked once it’s done, you cannot get that power back. If they revoke, then the executor power goes to, if there is a co-executor they get the position. If there is no one else it goes down to the alternative executor and if there’s no alternative executor they can apply for the trustee & guardian to be the administrator of the estate.

However, it can’t be done if someone has intermeddled. Intermeddling is when someone just has a little bit of a go at playing executor. Doesn’t like it for whatever reason finds it too stressful and starts dabbling in bank accounts and transactions, that’s intermeddling. Once you do that, you’ve got the mark of executor, you cannot then try and renounce.

In summary, if someone doesn’t want to be an executor, they don’t have to. They can renounce, unless they’ve had a go at it, they’ve intermeddled, then they can’t renounce.

What can you do as a Will-maker to stop any of this happening? Have a chat with the person you want to be your executor and explain to them the importance of the role and what it means to you. If you just pick someone out of random or just nominate a sibling, child that you haven’t talked to about, they might pull the plug.

Hope that’s been of some interest today. Talk again next time.

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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