Estate Administration & Probate
The management of a deceased estate can be complex and time consuming. Sometimes a beneficiary chooses to contest a Will, and other times unforeseen problems can crop up with particular assets. It is during those times that you need a trusted professional guiding your way.
MMLaw are here to help Executors carry out the task of Estate administration. The initial stages of Estate administration include obtaining a copy of the Death Certificate, locating the Will (if there is one), calling in the deceased’s assets, and identifying the deceased’s liabilities. Once the deceased’s liabilities are paid by the estate, then the estate can be distributed by payment of specific gifts and then the residue (balance) of the estate.
The Estate administration is subject to any claims that are made against the Estate or any beneficiaries contesting the Will. It is also crucial to ensure that the Executor or Administrator meets their legal duties and obligations to the Estate throughout the Estate administration.
MMLaw has over 18 years’ experience in helping their clients navigate and administer deceased estates. We cannot remove the pain of loss, but we can ease your burden by facilitating a smooth and efficient administration of the estate.
The Executor’s or Administrator’s Role
The Executor or Administrator is the Personal Representative of the Estate and is responsible for managing the administration and distribution of the estate.
Where the person was named as an Executor in the Will of the deceased, then they are known as the Executor of the Estate. Where there was no Will or no Executor named in the Will, then the Personal Representative is known as the Administrator of the Estate.
There are several preliminary matters which need attention when acting as an Executor or Administrator of an Estate. The Executor or Administrator is responsible for organising the funeral or appropriate memorial service for the deceased, and for scrutinising the Will to ensure the correct person or people are acting as Executor/s.
The Executor or Administrator is responsible for calling in the deceased’s assets and identifying the deceased’s liabilities. An Estate inventory, known as a statement of assets and liabilities of the Estate, is drafted to accurately record the accounts of the Estate. Depending on the value and assets of the Estate, a Grant of Probate of the Will may not be required. This is because banks and other institutions may require a Grant of Probate to release funds or assets to the estate if they exceed a certain value.
Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration
The Grant of Probate is a document issued by the Supreme Court which annexes a copy of the last valid Will of the deceased. The Grant of Probate is issued in favour of an Executor or Executors who then have the authority and protection to proceed to administer the estate and otherwise deal with the estate property. The Grant of Probate allows the Executor/s to carry out the terms of the Will and distribute the deceased’s Estate according to the Will.
If the deceased did not leave a valid Will, then the Supreme Court issues what’s known as a Grant of Letters of Administration. Similar to the Grant of Probate, the Grant of Letters of Administration is issued in favour of an Administrator or Administrators who then have the authority to administer the estate and otherwise deal with the estate property. As there is no Will to dictate the distribution of the estate, the Administrator/s will distribute either in accordance with the formula prescribed by the legislation, or a formalised agreement reached between the potential beneficiaries of the estate.
Certified copies of the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration are provided to asset holders (such as banks, share registries, aged care providers) that require the document in order to release or transfer any assets held by them to the estate.