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09.11.2020 Feature Article

What Are The Duties Of An Executor Or Administrator Of A Dead Person’s Estate?

What Are The Duties Of An Executor Or Administrator Of A Dead Person’s Estate?
LISTEN NOV 9, 2020

After one’s death, his earthly affairs may have to be taken care of whether one makes a will or not before death. Generally, it is easier to handle an estate left under a will as against one left by a person who died without making a will.

A person who dies and leaves behind a will would have selected those he/she wants to act as executors of the will and also those they wanted to enjoy the assets left behind. The executor is the person who will share the property to the beneficiaries chosen under the will. The beneficiaries are those to enjoy the assets left behind by the dead person.

As stated earlier, even if a person dies without making a will, their estate will have to be distributed by law. Since the person did not choose any person in their lifetime to undertake that task, a court will have to appoint someone, called the administrator, to see to the handling of the estate.

What is an estate?: Your estate is all the property that you own. It can include cash, clothes, jewelry, cars, houses, land, retirement accounts, investment and savings accounts, the business you own either alone or in partnership with others, etc.

Before an executor appointed by someone under a will can start handling the estate, they need to obtain “Probate” from the court confirming their executorship. In the case of a person who dies without making a will (that is, dies intestate), the individuals who want to handle the estate will have to apply to the court for “Letters of Administration” where the court may appoint them as administrators. Therefore, for a person to be confirmed as an executor appointed under a will or appointed as an administrator by a court, they must file an application to the court.

Information needed to file the application for Probate or Letters of Administration The person who is to be confirmed as executor or appointed as administrator must give the following information to their lawyer to prepare the application to the court. These include the name, hometown, date, place and burial of death of the deceased, last place

of abode, number of children of the deceased if any, and the total value of the deceased’s estate, including movables and immovables. Those who are applying to the court must also provide their names, residential addresses and how they were related to the dead person. With this information provided, the lawyer will be able to obtain the Probate Order or Letters of Administration to help the executors or administrators share the properties left behind according to the wishes of the dead person and the law.

The executor you choose to take care of your estate in your will can be a friend or

relative, a professional such as lawyer or a corporate trustee such as Elisus-Beatty Trust Services Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of FSB Law Consult.

If you choose a professional or a company trustee as the executor, the executor will be

paid from assets in your estate. You should negotiate the amount or rate in advance; compensation/fees can range from hourly fees to a percentage of your assets paid annually. Always make sure to choose someone you trust and who is willing and able to take on the responsibility.

What does an executor/administrator do? The executor of an estate does the following:

The executor is the person who will gather in the estate, that is to say, identify and locate all the assets you mentioned in your will.

· Identify and contact all the beneficiaries you named in your will, that is, the people you gave certain assets to.

· Be in charge of distributing your assets to the beneficiaries you named in your will. Manage any money and property your minor children (children under 18 years) may inherit from you.

· Process all claims made on the estate by creditors.

· File tax returns on behalf of your estate.

· Prepare accounts for the management of the estate and render accounts to the beneficiaries and other statutory/regulatory bodies whenever called upon to do so.

Once you choose capable executors, you can rest assured that your estate will be managed by competent hands. Your beneficiaries will get to enjoy their inherited assets in peace.

Francisca Serwaa Boateng, Esq.
Francisca Serwaa Boateng, Esq., © 2020

The author has 8 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: FranciscaSerwaaBoateng

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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