Probate and Administration

Wills & Estates Planning

When a person dies, there is a need to attend to the finalisation of their property and financial affairs. This can often be a daunting and challenging process for the personal representative (executor or administrator).

The personal representative must comply with various laws and rules that govern the administration of deceased estates which can be demanding and requires an understanding of the law, tax and accounting requirements.

The personal representative has many responsibilities, including for example:

  • to arrange the funeral and dispose of the deceased person’s body;
  • proving the Will by applying to the Supreme Court for a grant of Probate, or if there is no Will, applying for a grant of Letters of Administration;
  • calling in and collecting the estate assets;
  • paying the debts and liabilities of the estate, including testamentary expenses;
  • administering any special provisions in the Will;
  • considering any taxation issues and lodgement of tax returns;
  • maintaining proper accounts and records;
  • paying the legacies in the Will and distributing the balance of the estate to the beneficiaries;
  • dealing with any testamentary trusts (such as in the case of minor beneficiaries); and
  • defending and/or resolving claims or litigation.

The administrative formalities and procedures involved can sometimes be quite complex and technical in nature. Without professional advice or representation, there can be significant delays and increased costs in finalising the estate.

It is important that a personal representative fully understand the nature and extent of their responsibilities as well as their powers and rights in respect of the estate administration to avoid any potential liability and/or to avoid or resolve disputes with beneficiaries or other third parties such as creditors or claimants.

We aim to provide an efficient and cost effective administration of estates. We can assist with the administrative formalities and procedures and provide advice during the course of the administration.

Even if the Will of the deceased person was not prepared by, or was not held by, Heard McEwan Legal at the time of death, it is a simple task for us to obtain the authority of the executor to pick up the Will from where it is being held and then to assist the executor in complying with all the requirements imposed on him or her by the law.

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