What is Estate Administration?
Estate administration involves the practical and legal steps involved when dealing with the affairs of someone who has passed away. At it’s simplest, estate administration involves finalising someone’s affairs. This will usually include immediate funeral decisions, closing their bank accounts, sale or distribution of all assets, finalisation of all contracts (eg insurances and other service contracts), and then distribution as appropriate.
Whilst the broad intention is identical (the finalisation of the affairs of the deceased), the path forward will depend heavily on whether there is a valid and properly prepared will, or not.
What happens if there is a Will?
When a person dies leaving a thorough and properly prepared will, the administration process is significantly streamlined. The responsibilities and wishes of the deceased are clearly defined, and leads to a relatively simple and straightforward process.
Some estates will require significant legal assistance throughout, some estates will require merely a guiding hand at the outset, and of course every variation in between!
I’m an executor. What do I do?
A thorough and properly prepared Will appoints a person or persons as executor(s). They are the person or persons responsible for the administration of the estate. They are the decision makers. The executor or executors will decide which assets will be sold and converted to cash, and can be the trustees of any money left for the benefit of children under 18 years of age.
An application to the Supreme Court of Queensland may be required to obtain Probate. Probate provides Court approval of the will. Whether or not to apply for probate is something you should discuss with us. Let our experience be your guide.
How long does it take to finalise an estate administration?
An estate administration can often be a somewhat lengthy affair. If there are persons you are likely to bring a claim against the will, they have 9 months within which to bring this claim. A wise executor will wait until that time period has expired, before making distribution to any beneficiaries. There may well also be the need to prepare a final tax return for the deceased.
Most estates can be finalised within 6 to 12 months however, more complicated circumstances will take longer to be finalised.
As with all legal matters, we are here to advise and assist. You however, are the decision makers. We are happy to provide as much or as little assistance as you require. Come talk to us about our approach. You will see that we have not lost sight of the fact that an estate administration will ALWAYS involve the loss of someone special. Let us help you to honour them, by ensuring a swift and smooth handling of their affairs.