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Administration of Deceased Estates

Administering a deceased estate can be complicated, and at times, very stressful for both beneficiaries and executors/administrators of an estate.

As an executor/administrator of an estate, you have various duties to perform for which you are accountable and for which you owe to the beneficiaries of the estate, including duties to:

  • Try and locate a will for the deceased person;
  • Take steps to identify and secure the deceased person’s assets;
  • Obtain a grant of probate or letters of administration;
  • Identify and communicate with beneficiaries; and
  • Administer the deceased person’s assets in an efficient and effective manner.

Acting as an executor of an estate can be a rewarding task but it can also be a complex, stressful and an expensive one if not handled appropriately.

As an executor you must decide early on whether you wish to accept the role that you have been appointed to.

In considering whether you wish to act as an executor of the estate, you will want to be properly appraised of your responsibilities as well as any potential risks of personal exposure or liability.

Tetlow Legal recommends that if you are appointed as an executor or administrator of a deceased estate that you obtain suitably qualified legal advice as to your rights and responsibilities in relation to your position.

The Tasks

The administration of a deceased estate can be complex. The experienced staff at Tetlow Legal can help you with:-

  • Interpreting the Will;
  • Dealing with an intestate estate;
  • Identifying estate assets and liabilities;
  • Obtaining valuations of estate property;
  • Collecting estate financial assets including superannuation, bank funds, shares, outstanding loans, and insurance payouts;
  • Selling or transferring estate property including real estate;
  • Organising payment of estate debts including mortgages, funeral costs, and testamentary expenses;
  • Advising in regard to family and testamentary trusts;
  • Distributing bequests and inheritances to beneficiaries;
  • Advise on tax and stamp duty implications of deceased estates;
  • Organising information for estate tax returns and arranging preparation and lodgement;
  • Advising executors and trustees in regard to their duties and rights;
  • Assisting with family mediation and negotiation in complex and/or disputed estates; and
  • Preparing or advising on Deeds of Family Arrangement (to settle disputes). This may involve the family and beneficiaries reaching an agreement to change the distribution of assets from what is set out in a Will. This can also apply where the deceased died without a Will and the rules of intestacy would ordinarily apply but the family and beneficiaries have decided on an alternate distribution of assets.

We are also able to assist with the administration of trusts which are created by a Will and deal with self-managed superannuation funds where the deceased was a member of that fund.

Payment to Executors and Administrators

Some wills specify that the executor of the estate be paid for their services. in the absence of a specific provision in the will, an executor or administrator may still be entitled to be remunerated.

Executors/administrators may recover certain expenses they incur from the estate. You may also be entitled to a ‘commission’ for the ‘pains and troubles’ you have sustained in administering the estate. Tetlow Legal can assist you with this process where required.

We help executors/administrators to administer small, medium and large estates both locally and overseas. In doing so we undertake the task in a respectful and effective manner whilst ensuring that you are protected from liability throughout the process.

Our specialist lawyers have the experience and compassion needed to guide and assist you through this process and to ensure that the best possible outcomes are achieved with the least amount of distress for all parties involved.