Executor of a Will checklist

Coping with the loss of a loved one is naturally a very emotional time, and often it can be difficult as the executor of a Will to know what to do and where to start. The following checklist is intended to assist executors through this difficult time, detailing what is required to be done to get the administration process underway.

What are the first steps I should take as an executor of a Will?

1. Organise the funeral

In many instances, funeral wishes are discussed with a deceased person prior to their death. Other times, the deceased person may not have given any indication about what funeral arrangements they desired.

A primary consideration to take into account is how the deceased wished for their body to be treated after death, such as donation of organs, burial, cremation, etc. This information is sometimes outlined in their Will.

It is also important to consider whether the deceased person had organised a prepaid funeral or funeral bond.

2. Locate the Will

The Will states how the deceased’s assets are to be distributed. As the executor of the Will, you are responsible for ensuring the deceased person’s assets are distributed to the people named in the Will.

If the deceased has not left a Will, or a Will cannot be located, then they are classified as having died intestate and their estate will be distributed according to intestacy provisions.

3. Apply for a Death Certificate

If you are arranging the funeral with the aid of a funeral director, they will often assist you in organising a death certificate.

If a funeral director is not involved, it will be the executor of the Will who is responsible for registering the death and applying for a formal death certificate. To commence the application for the death certificate, visit Births, Deaths and Marriages.

4. Ascertain what assets and liabilities the deceased owned

It is important to ascertain what assets the deceased person owned as this will determine whether or not a Grant of Probate will be required.

Similarly, it will be necessary to ascertain any debts or other liabilities in the name of the deceased. If you attend to payment of any sundry expenses such as funeral bill, rates, etc. you are entitled to be reimbursed from the estate once the funds are collected.

5. Notifying other organisations

We recommend that you contact either your solicitor or the solicitor of the deceased to assist with further administration of the estate and the application for a Grant of Probate, if required.

It may also be necessary to contact an accountant for assistance with any tax-related matters.

It is prudent to contact other organisations, such as health insurance providers, VicRoads and Centrelink to notify them of the death. In the case of Centrelink, a funeral director will often make notification on your behalf.

How can Sharrock Pitman Legal assist?

If you would like to speak with one of our team members about your role as executor or the administration of an estate, please contact our Wills and Estates team on 1300 205 506 or alternatively fill in the form below.

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Any legal matters should be discussed specifically with one of our lawyers.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

For further information contact  
Mitchell Zadow

Mitchell is the Managing Principal of our law practice.

He is an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Law (accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria). He also deals with areas of Employment Law, Wills & Estate Planning and Probate. For further information, contact Mitchell on his direct line (03) 8561 3318.


For fifty years Sharrock Pitman Legal has made a significant and long term contribution to meeting the legal needs of business owners and residents in the City of Monash and greater Melbourne area.

Get in touch

When you contact us you will soon discover that we really are caring lawyers who will always be ‘on your side®’.

Thank you, your form has been received.

We'll be in touch shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.