Deceased Estate and Trust Administration

Estate administration is an area that needs to be considered by the executor(s) of a will. No matter you wish to administer your deceased will as an executor, or plan for your own future, an experienced estate lawyer will maximise your knowledge in estate administration and minimise your pressure in handling the administration.

Regardless of your estate’s complexity, Ascent Lawyers can assist you to manage the administration.

What is the Deceased Estate and Trust Administration?

The deceased estate and trust administration is the process that the executor(s) gather the estate assets, attend to payment of all estate liabilities, and distribute surplus assets to beneficiaries in accordance with the will, normally with the help of their solicitors.

Some assets of the estate will not be able to be dealt with in accordance with the Will without the Court granting probate.

What is probate?

“Probate” is the Supreme Court of Queensland’s official recognition of a will is legally valid.

Only a “grant of probate” is the proof that authorisation is given to the executor(s), and thus the deceased’s assets can be transferred to the executor(s).

Who should apply for probate?

The executor(s) need to apply for probate to confirm the author of the last will has died, the will is valid and the executor(s) are who they say they are.

Is a Grant of Probate mandatory?

Generally, financial institutions only accept the grant of probate to release assets that are registered under the sole name of the deceased.

In the following situation, a grant of probate may not be necessary:

  • If the deceased person’s estate is relatively small
  • The last will clearly state that a particular real estate is to be transferred to a particular beneficiary
  • The beneficiary is the joint owner of the deceased’s share in an asset

Each will is distinctive, Ascent Lawyers will assist in identifying the necessity to apply for a grant of probate.

How do I obtain a grant of probate?

In Queensland, you must advertise your intention to apply for probate to allow others to object your rights to obtain probate.

To obtain a grant of probate, the executor(s) named in the will must apply to the Probate Office of the Queensland Supreme Court. The executor(s) must file several legal documents to satisfy the court, therefore, it is recommended you engage a lawyer to assist you.

What is included in the probate?

A grant of probate include the following information:

  • The author of the will has died
  • The will is authentic
  • The executor(s) are who they say they are

Who may object to the probate?

Anyone claiming to have an interest in the estate can file a caveat (objection) to the Court within the time frame. The Court will not make the grant of probate until the claim is resolved or if the claimant has evidence supporting their interests.

How long does a probate take?

Comprehensive probate may take 6 months to 2 years. However, it is challenging to nail down an accurate timing of probate as they are dependant on a myriad of factors:

  • The size of the deceased’s estate
  • The complexity of the estate
  • The number of proposed heirs
  • If the will itself is being contested

Once probate is granted, assets must be collected to and then settle tax and owing debts. Then, the residual assets may be distributed in accordance with the will.

Acting as the executor(s) can be stressful and overwhelming. Ascent Lawyers offers guidance and support all along your way.

As a potential beneficiary, can I contest a will after the probate has been granted?

Even if the Court has granted the probate, as a beneficiary, you are still able to give the executor(s) notice of your intention to contest the will, it is called a Family Provision Application.

You must write to the executor(s) within 6 months from the date of death of the deceased’s death that you intend to make a claim. Court proceedings must usually be filed within 9 months from the date of death.

Legal costs in making a Family Provision Application is usually paid from the deceased estate. However, if you are unsuccessfully in contesting a will, the Court may order that you pay the costs of the deceased estate.

Ascent Lawyer will exercises best endeavour to advise you in this regard.

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