Deceased Estate Lawyers
Coming to terms with the death of a loved one is very difficult. The added responsibility of dealing with their assets and liabilities (the ‘Estate’) can be simply overwhelming. However, involving a deceased estate lawyer to assist you in the Estate Administration process makes the everything alot less daunting.
When someone dies you need to find out whether they had a valid Will. If they had a valid Will, they would have appointed someone as their trusted Executor.
The Executor is responsible for collecting and distributing the deceased’s assets in accordance with the terms of the Will. If the deceased had no Will, someone will need to act as an Administrator and the ‘Rules of Intestacy’ apply.
The duty of an Executor begins the moment the deceased person dies. The duties depend entirely on the assets and liabilities of the Estate. Some of the things an Executor may be responsible for include:
- Organising the funeral
- Applying to the Court for a Grant of Probate (more information below)
- Identifying the deceased’s assets and liabilities
- Organising proper insurance cover for the deceased’s property
- Closing bank accounts
- Selling or transferring the deceased’s house and other property
- Paying any creditors
- Liaising with beneficiaries
- Distributing money and items to beneficiaries
- Taking care of any taxation issues
- Looking after assets or investments that have been left to anyone under 18 or with a legal disability
- Representing the estate in any litigation (e.g. a family provision claim)
Our deceased estate lawyers will ensure that your duties as an executor are undertaken diligently and thoughtfully.
What is Probate?
Probate is the process of proving to the Supreme Court the last Will of a deceased person reflects their final wishes. In order to collect in and deal with someones estate assets you need to seek authority from the Supreme Court. This is achieved by obtaining a legal document called a ‘Grant of Probate’.
To protect the interests of those who hold the deceased’s assets (for example banks or a super fund) the executor may be asked to prove they are authorised to administer the Will before the assets can be released. The Grant of Probate is the proof required.
What are Letters of Administration?
Letters of Administration may need to be applied for where someone dies intestate. If you die instestate, this means you died without having a valid Will, and left behind assets valued over a certain amount or some real estate. You generally require deceased estate lawyers to make this assessment. The process for Letters of Administration are similar to that of Probate except we rely on a family member or close friend to come forward and agree to accept the role of administrator.
It is not always necessary to apply for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. This will often depend on what assets have been left behind by the deceased. It will also depend on the requirements of the institutions holding those assets. If you are not sure whether you need to obtain a Grant, please book a no obligation chat here or call us today.
Applying for a Grant of Representation
There are five steps to applying for a grant of probate or grant of letters of administration.
Advertise your intention
Advertise your intention to apply for a Grant with the Supreme Court. The correct wording of the advertisement is very important.
Gather information about the assets and liabilities of the deceased. The details and values of all assets and liabilities of the deceased are required for the Inventory of Assets and Liabilities to be filed with the Court.
Give people time to object to your application
You will need to wait fourteen (14) clear days after advertising your notice of intention. Anyone claiming to have an objection to the Will can file a caveat with the Supreme Court of Victoria. If a caveat has been filed, you should seek legal advice.
Prepare your Application
Prepare your Application for Probate or Administration. Your Application is filed online with the Supreme Court of Victoria. These documents must comply with the legal requirements of the Court and you should seek legal advice if you are unfamiliar with the rules.
File at the Supreme Court
Once all the above steps have been completed and you have signed your Affidavit in Support the Application, you can submit your Application and supporting documents to the Supreme Court of Victoria.
If you need some assistance from a lawyer, please book a no obligation chat or call us today.