Codicil to change Executor in your Will


Change Executor codicil

The Change Executor codicil replaces the Executors in your Will – without changing your actual Will. Your Wills stays the same, except you have a different Executor. You may wish to change the Executor for a number of reasons:

  1. you are no longer with your partner
  2. your Executor has died or got too frail to do the job
  3. sack the Public Trustee or State Trustee of Victoria
  4. remove the lawyer named as an Executor
  5. sack a professional trustee company. (Including: Australian Executor Trustees, National Australia Trustees and Australian Executor Trustees and Perpetual Estate Services.)

change executor codicil

‘Free’ Public Trustee Will?

Did a nice person, from the government, offer to do you a ‘free’ Will?

Did they make your spouse and children the Executors, and then also quietly slipped in the ‘Public Trustee‘ as an Executor as well? Whether alone or with others the Public Trustee charges to be one of your Executors. They charge a percentage of your estate. The Public Trustee makes money from being your Executor. Instead, most people appoint their family members, only, as their Executors.

The Change Executor Codicil allows your family to escape the Public Trustee and Victorian State Trustee. This is by removing the Public Trustee and putting in your own family as the Executors.

“I am from the government and I am here to help you,” said Mr Public Trustee and State Trustee. That does not sound very convincing, does it?


First marriage with only children of that marriage?

Mum and dad usually appoint each other as Executors. They then appoint their children once both are dead.

For example, if you are leaving everything to your spouse and then everything to your children when you are both dead then amend your Will so that:

  1. Your spouse is the Executor of your Will;
  2. But if your spouse is dead or too frail to do the job then you appoint all your children as the Backup Executors.

Contrary to what the Public Trustee argue, most married couples do this.

In that case:

  1. Mum builds a Codicil appointing Dad as the Executor. The Backup Executors are the children.
  2. Dad builds his own separate Codicil appointing Mum as the Executor. Dad’s Backup Executors are the children.

My children are under 18 years of age

You can appoint in your Codicil children under 18 years of age and ‘unborn children’. Just in case they are still under 18 years of age when you die then also appoint an uncle, aunt or a trusted friend as well. If your children are over 18 then the uncle and aunt can renounce the job of Executor.

My children hate each other – appoint them all?change executor codicil

1. If your children don’t get on together then you should appoint them all as executors. Contrary to popular rumour, the job of the executor is one of servant – not master. The executor can’t boss the beneficiaries. The beneficiary, however, can boss around the executors. Therefore appoint all the children if they fight.

2. If the children all love each other and get on well, then appoint them all as your executors.

Appointing all of the residuary beneficiaries avoids the perception of ‘favourites’. There is no limit to the number of Executors you appoint.

Our law firm is currently acting for an Australian deceased estate where the four Executors (the children) have never been to Australia and don’t speak English. Your children do not need to be living in your home State to be Executors.

What does an Executor do? 

You need to appoint an Executor or Executors in your Will to handle your affairs after you die. Your Executor arranges the funeral, applies for Probate, pays debts and distributes your assets according to your Will. These are not normally difficult jobs and the Executor can get professional help from their accountant, financial planner and lawyer. In fact, if the children wanted to they can even give the job of Executor to the Public Trustee after you die. However, I have been practising in Estate Planning since the 1980s and I have never seen a child do that. Why waste the money?

Or should I just build a new Will from scratch?

If your Will is perfect, except for the choice of Executors then you can merely build this Codicil to update the Executors. However, the old Will may not have any tax benefits, such as 3-Generation Testamentary Trusts in your Will. There are 4 death taxes: CGT, income tax, stamp duty and 32% tax on your Superannuation going to adult children. To learn about Wills that have tax savings see here.

Need help to build your Change Executor codicil online? Telephone us. We are a national law firm so we can give legal advice.

Adjunct Professor, Dr Brett Davies, CTA, AIAMA, BJuris, LLB, LLM, MBA, SJD
Legal Consolidated Barristers and Solicitors, Australia wide law firm
Mobile: 0477 796 959
Reception: 1800 141 612
Skype: brettkennethdavies








  1. Bill Hackett says:

    Hi Brett. Loved your comments about the Public Trustees.

    If a person has been nominated an executor of an estate and feels overwhelmed with the duties and workload administering it, can they delegate the job to you, as a lawyer? Why would delegating the job to you be more beneficial than having the Public Trustee do it? Are there any hidden fees and costs that are generally not disclosed by them?



    • Brett Davies says:

      Dear Bill,
      My comments are not just against the Public Trustee. It is against all so called ‘professional’ Trustees, including law firms that go out of their way to try and make their clients appoint them as the Executor. Their tool is fear. I find it dishonourable.

      The job of being Executor is not usually difficult. The Executors often have the Accountant do a tax return. They appoint a financial planner for investment advice. They may get some quotes and appoint the lawyer, of their choice, to attend to Probate and transfer real-estate.

      The Executor gets fixed price quotes from the accountant, adviser and lawyer to do the above jobs. If the job is not being done to their satisfaction they can sack the professional, at any time. In contrast, if you appointed a professional trustee then: they don’t quote they just charge their fees and they can’t be sacked if they are doing a bad job. Kind regards, Dr Brett Davies