Executors are appointed under the Will and are selected to perform the role, which comes with various legal responsibilities.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Applying for the Grant of Probate
- Paying any outstanding debts and relevant taxes
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries
Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries
As part of their role, the executor must ensure that they make reasonable efforts to trace all beneficiaries that are named in the Will.
If the executor proceeds to distribute the estate without taking any reasonable steps to locate the beneficiaries first, and the beneficiary does not receive a share that they are entitled to, the estate could be vulnerable to claims if they come forward later, and the executor could be personally liable to pay this share themselves.
Not only this, but by failing to reasonably trace, beneficiaries could potentially miss out on their rightful entitlement, which would ultimately go against the testator's wishes.
It is, therefore, extremely important that the testator's wishes are followed, and the assets are distributed amongst all beneficiaries as intended to avoid long delays and the estate being left in limbo until the matter is resolved.