Estate Administration: Key Terms Explained

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Testator, also known as the will maker, is the person who has made a Will.

Executor is the person named in someone’s Will who has the responsibility of carrying out the terms of their Will when they die.

Testamentary capacity is the required legal and mental capacity a Testaor must have when they make and sign their Will. To have testamentary capacity, generally the Testator must understand the nature, content and effect of their Will, are making those decisions freely and voluntarily and are able to communicate those decisions in some way.

Intestacy is the legal where a person dies without a Will, meaning the person dies intestate. In Queensland the laws of intestacy are outlined in Part 3 of the Succession Act 1981 (Qld) which, amongst other things, set out the rules for distribution of assets where a person dies without a Will

Guardian or a testamentary guardian is generally a person with whom a parent, by their Will, appoints as the caregiver of their infant children upon their death. The Succession Act 1981 (Qld) states that a testamentary guardian of a child has all the powers, rights and responsibilities, for making decisions about the long-term care, welfare and development of the child, that are ordinarily vested in a guardian.

Specific gift is a particular gift made by a Testator in their Will to a certain person or class of persons. These gifts may include gifts of cash, property and the like.

Residue is that part of a Testator’s estate remaining after any specific gifts are made.

Grant of probate is the Court’s official recognition of the Executors right to administer the Will and that the Will is legally valid. 

Letters of administration is the Court’s official recognition of the person name in the letters has the authority to administer the estate of a deceased person. Letters of administration are required where a person dies without leaving a Will.

Administration of the estate is the process of calling in, selling, dealing with a deceased’s persons assets, property and liabilities upon their death and distributing those assets in accordance with the deceased’s persons Will or the rules of intestacy where a person dies without a Will.