Adrian Corbould: Did you know as an executor, you can be sued personally so your own assets are at stake after you distribute the estate? How do you stop it? I’m Adrian Corbould, Accredited Specialist, Wills & Estates at Turnbull Hill Lawyers. Being an executor is an arduous task, you have to gather in all the assets and distribute them perfectly in accordance with the deceased’s last Will so all the beneficiaries get what they’re meant to receive.

Now, you also have to pay out debts of the estate, but you may not know for certain if or who is owed money. One way around this is to comply with Section 93 of the Succession Act. What doing that is, is five things. You have to do five things, and if you do them all, a creditor cannot come after you personally after you distribute the estate to get their debt paid. The five things.

The first one is you have to wait for six months after the deceased’s death before you distribute. Second thing is you have to put an advertisement indicating that you intend to distribute the estate. Thirdly, the notice has to indicate that you will not distribute until 30 days have passed from publishing that notice. Fourth thing is that time has to pass before you distribute. The fifth thing is you cannot be on notice of any family provision claim.

If you do all those things and a creditor, for example, pops up and says, “Oh, I am owed money by the estate,” you are legally protected. As in, they cannot claim from your personal assets. This is very important because if a creditor was owed say a million dollars and you had not done these things, you could be personally accountable, you could be personally wiped out, so these are things you’ve got to watch for.

Sometimes if I think someone might be making a family provision claim, but hasn’t raised their intention to do so in the first six months, I advise to wait 12 months, but each case falls on its own facts. I hope that’s been of some use today, we’ll talk again next time.

Turnbull Hill Lawyers, and specifically Adrian Corbould and Mary Windeyer, have been named in the prestigious 2023 Doyles Guide. Both were also listed in the 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019 guides.

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