Explaining executors’ duties, gifts for grandchildren

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YourLifeChoices’ estate planning expert Rod Cunich receives a lot of questions about wills and, you guessed it, estate planning, Today, he answers member questions about executors, gifting and donating property to charity.

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Q. Brian
Can my nominated executor/s delegate the task to another person or organisation? 

A: Executors can engage people to assist them undertake the task. Many engage solicitors to do most of the work, and some recruit family members to lend a hand. Executors, however, retain the responsibility for ensuring things are done properly, so delegating tasks doesn’t extend to delegating responsibility.

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Q. Irene
I have made my will leaving a very small legacy to each of my great grandchildren. These children are very young and would probably still be under 18 when my will is to be executed. Will this be a problem? Would I be better to leave them each a small cash deposit in an envelope?

A: It is common for grandparents to leave gifts to under-age grandchildren. It is the responsibility of the executor to invest and care for the money until each reaches the age of 18 when the money can be handed to them. If it is a small sum of money that doesn’t warrant the time and effort to manage in an account, then grandparents often opt to leave money in envelopes, one for each grandchild with a note on the outside saying: “For (name) when she/he turns 18” and then give the envelopes to a trusted person.

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Q. Phil
I have three investment properties and my own home. I have a younger brother who has two children but I have no children of my own. I want to leave my niece and nephew something when I die and I’d like to donate one of my three-bedroom units to a charity. Is this something I can do?

A: In a word, yes. If you have a spouse/life partner, I’d clear my plan with him/her first, but otherwise simply see a solicitor to get your will prepared. 

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Disclaimer: This informationhas been provided by Rod Cunich and should be considered general in nature. Seek legal advice before acting on this information.

Rod Cunich is a lawyer with over 30 years of experience who specialises in estate planning. If you have a question for Rod, simply email it to [email protected]

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