The Assets 

As executor it will be your job to identify the deceased person’s assets and liabilities. Identifying the liabilities is the easy part because unpaid bills will be re-sent monthly. On the other hand, statements relating to the deceased's assets come much less regularly.

  • As executor you should get the deceased’s mail redirected to you and over time you should receive something in the post relating to nearly every asset.

  • The solicitor acting for the estate will do a Land Titles Office search that will disclose all of the real estate owned by the deceased at the date of death.

  • The solicitor will also do ASIC searches that will disclose the deceased’s shareholdings and any directorships.

  • Otherwise, your source of information about assets will be found in the documents the deceased had at their house, such as in their desk or home office.

Preserving the Assets and Maximising the Estate

As executor you have got to keep the assets safe and take what opportunities are reasonably available to you in order to increase them, or at least avoid them depreciating or getting lost.

  • This duty often requires that the executor ensure that the deceased's home is locked, and the keys are only held by the executor. This often means that the executor must get the locks changed.

  • The executor must prevent friends and family entering the deceased’s home because if anything goes missing the executor is personally liable.

  • The executor must also ensure that any real estate is insured for repair and/or replacement of the buildings and contents.

  • The insurance on any motor vehicles must be maintained.

  • If the deceased held jewellery or other portable assets such as artworks or antiques, then the executor should arrange for them to be stored securely while probate is being obtained.