Deceased Estate Lawyers
Estate administration refers to the process of administering the deceased’s estate in accordance with their Will or if they died intestate (without a valid Will), in accordance with intestacy laws.
Administering an estate can quickly become complicated. Knowing when to expect challenges and how to overcome them with ease and efficiency is a quality that many of our clients are seeking in estate administration lawyer. You can rely on Cudmore Legal Family Lawyers Brisbane Co to assist you in completing the process as efficiently as possible. The loss of a loved one can be an emotional and traumatic experience. You need time and space to grieve, rather than dealing with finances and the court system.
We work closely with you so you can focus on your loss and spend valuable time with family and friends who can offer support during this difficult period. Estate administration tasks might include:
- Locating the will;
- Identify beneficiaries;
- Listing assets and liabilities of the estate;
- Notify any creditors;
- Notify holders of assets (for, eg banks, superannuation, investment funds, shares);
- Obtain probate (if necessary);
- Assist in the sale of assets;
- Transfer property, cars or other assets;
- Distribute assets following the will; and
- Pay creditors (if any).
How long does it take to administer an estate?
How long is a piece of string? It can take a few months to several years depending on the complexity of the estate. Selling assets, applying for probate and all of the administrative processes in between can be time-consuming. In certain circumstances, you can distribute parts of the estate to beneficiaries, but all other beneficiaries and creditors should be taken into account.
What is an ‘executor’?
The executor is the person named in the Will of the deceased to administer the estate. It is their job to do various tasks to bring the deceased’s last wishes into effect. This might include applying for probate, selling houses or cars, distributing money to creditors or beneficiaries and so on.
What are the legal ramifications of being an executor?
An executor owes a ‘fiduciary duty’ to the estate. This means the executor must act in the best interests of the estate. Mismanaging estate funds, assets or investments intentionally or negligently can result in legal consequences and potentially having to pay back the estate. Even if something is stolen or damaged, and you’ve forgotten to renew insurance, you can be held liable for that damage.
Do I have to be the executor?
What is a grant of probate?
A grant of probate is the courts’ acknowledgment that a Will is valid and you’re the authorised person to deal with the estate.
Do I have to get probate?
You’re not required by law to apply for probate—but instead, there are conditions when you may need it to execute the Will in accordance with its terms. Some banks, superannuation funds and investments firms require probate to release the assets to the estate. Circumstances exist where probate may not be necessary. This might include when the deceased owned a house as a joint tenant (where everything passes to the surviving owner) or the value of the assets is relatively small.
Do I need a lawyer to get probate?
The law that covers Wills and intestacy is complex. Once you obtain probate, you must execute the Will in accordance with its terms or you could face prosecution. However, you can apply for probate yourself through the courts directly.
Do I need to be the executor to obtain probate?
There are certain circumstances where someone other than an executor can apply to the court. In this case, you would apply for a grant of letters of administration of the Will and is also known as “grant of letters of administration with the Will annexed” (or in Latin “cum testamento annexo“). This is different from letters of administration where someone has died intestate (known as a grant of letters of administration on intestacy).
How we can help
We understand that navigating an estate administration can be extremely difficult for individuals who are mourning the loss of a loved one. Our lawyers have the legal knowledge and skill to help you understand your rights, responsibilities and options while guiding you through the process compassionately and expeditiously.