Administering a Deceased Estate – What’s the Hold Up?

Losing a loved one is undoubtedly a difficult time. When appointed as an executor you are tasked with the administration of the deceased’s estate. One of the first questions asked is, “So how long is this going to take?” Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer.

What is the process?

To obtain a Grant of Probate, the Supreme Court needs to be given information about the assets and liabilities of the estate. When someone dies and leaves assets in Victoria, (usually) the executor of the deceased’s Will has the responsibility to deal with the administration. The process is relatively straightforward but tedious and the more complex the estate, the longer the administration takes.

An advertisement with the intention to apply for probate must be lodged and published with the Supreme Court website for at least 14 days prior to the Probate application being lodged.

Making enquiries, calling in assets to obtain ALL the information can take a number of weeks. Delays and backlogs also contribute to this. Waiting for a Death Certificate to be issued can add a few more weeks to the process. In short, if you are able to have your application for Probate Granted within 1 to 2 months from the date of death, you are making TIMELY PROGRESS.

Why does it take so long?

Once you have obtained the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, a few months are likely to have passed. The complexity of an estate determines how much time will be required to administer it correctly. Factors that determine this timeframe include:

  • Selling properties and settlement dates;
  • Whether anyone is making a claim on the estate
  • The ‘6 Month Rule’ – This is a 6-month period where eligible beneficiaries are given the opportunity to challenge the estate. Executors should wait until this period ends before distributing any assets or funds.
  • Shares – it may not be the right time to immediately cash them in.
  • Lodging end of year tax returns

To speak to one of our Deceased Estate Lawyers you can do so by clicking HERE


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.

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