Cairns Wills & Estate Lawyers | Will Disputes and Estate Lawyers

Estate Administration

What is estate administration?

Estate administration is the process by which the wishes of a Will maker are brought into effect following their passing. Your executor will manage this process, often with the assistance of a lawyer.

The process of estate administration can take many months, depending upon the nature and extent of the assets and property involved. In many cases, the executor will need to obtain probate of the Will before financial institutions (such as super funds and banks) will agree to let the executor administer the estate.

Once all of the assets and property of the estate are received, and all of the liabilities/debts are discharged (including any outstanding tax liability), the executors will make the final distribution to the beneficiaries of the estate.

Cairns Wills and Estate Lawyers can help with:

  • understanding rights and responsibilities of an executor
  • applying for probate
  • identifying and collecting the deceased’s assets
  • advising on tax liabilities
  • estate administration
  • letters of administration application (if there is no Will, or the Will is invalid)
  • distributing assets to beneficiaries
  • claims against Wills and estates
  • intestacy issues.
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What is probate?

Probate is a process by which the Supreme Court of Queensland essentially approves the Will and makes a Grant of Probate. Once probate is obtained, financial institutions are required to follow all directions given by the executor to administer the estate.

To get probate, some of the things an executor needs to do are::

  • advertise their intention to apply for a Grant of Probate from the Court, in a relevant publication
  • complete a number of legal documents
  • file an application seeking a Grant of Probate with the Supreme Court.

Cairns Wills and Estate Lawyers can advise you whether probate is necessary or relevant to your situation.

What are the duties of an executor?

An executor is the person you nominate to make sure that your last wishes, as detailed in your Will, are carried out after your death. The role is known as estate administration, and generally involves:

  • locating the Will of the deceased
  • applying for probate
  • ensuring funeral and administration expenses, debts, and taxes are paid by the estate
  • distributing assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will
  • resolving any estate issues, liabilities, and disputes, including challenges to the Will.

Cairns Wills and Estate Lawyers can help ease the process with clear and accurate advice on the most cost effective and expedient way of dealing with the estate.

How do I choose an executor?

Choose someone that you are confident will act responsibly. Most people choose to appoint their spouse or adult children as executors. There is no problem if your executor is also a beneficiary of the Will.

It is quite common for people to appoint professional advisors, such as their accountant or lawyer, to act as their executor, especially when the administration is going to be complex.

Most executors will engage a lawyer to help them with a Will, so your executor does not have to be commercially or legally experienced.

We encourage clients to choose people whom they know and trust to be their executor, as we can guide them through the process when the time comes for them to act.

What if I am named executor in a Will?

Estate administration and executorship can be a complex and confusing job at a time of grieving. If accept the responsibility, be sure that you will be able to complete the process (which can spread out over many months).

Getting legal advice is important, so that you are clear about how to properly administer the estate and ensure that you fulfill your duty as executor. If you do not administer a Will strictly in accordance with its terms as executor you can be personally liable to the beneficiaries of the estate.

If you have been appointed as an executor, and do not want to be one, you can file a renunciation.

Our experienced lawyers can help you understand your rights and responsibilities as an executor.

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