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Home | Wills & Estates Law | Deceased Estate Administration

The administration of a deceased estate can be an overwhelming and time-consuming process, which can come at a very difficult time for the Executor, who is often a grieving relative or friend.

Role of the executor

An executor is responsible for carrying out numerous tasks in the administration process, including collecting all assets, paying all liabilities and distributing the estate in accordance with the deceased’s last Will.

We can advise you on all aspects of your rights and duties as an executor or administrator of a deceased person’s estate.

Turner Freeman Lawyers has the expertise and resources to ensure your loved one’s estate matters are handled quickly and efficiently during a difficult time by assisting the executor of the Will.

Call 13 43 63 to speak with one of our Wills and Estates lawyers in Queensland. Our offices are in Brisbane, Logan, North Lakes, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns.

Wills and Estates Lawyers in QLD

FAQ

What is Estate Administration?

What is Estate Administration?

Estate Administration is the process in which the Executor appointed by the deceased person’s last Will distributes the assets of the deceased person’s estate to their beneficiaries.

The administration of an Estate involves the collection and distribution of the assets and payment of liabilities of a deceased person in accordance with their Will or the law.

It’s important to understand that the role of the Executor is different to that of someone who has Power of Attorney. An Executor has the authority to carry out the deceased person’s wishes after they have passed away, while someone who holds Power of Attorney has the authority to make decisions on their behalf while they are alive.

Some important facts about Estate Administration:

  • Estate Administration can be an overwhelming and time consuming process which can come at a very difficult time for the Executor, who is often a grieving relative or friend.
  • An Executor is responsible for attending to numerous tasks in the administration process, including collecting all assets of the deceased, paying all liabilities and distributing the Estate in accordance with the deceased’s last Will or the law.
  • The Estate Administration process may require a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration which are both legal documents used to verify the authority of the person entitled to administer the Estate.

As every deceased Estate is unique, the time it will take to administer an Estate can vary anywhere between just over 6 months to several years depending on the terms of the Will and whether any disputes arise.

We understand. We know that losing a loved one is heartbreaking, stressful and exhausting. We give you time to grieve, and will provide you with professional advice and assistance. We are here to help remove the burden of paperwork and legal hassles. We can assist you with the entire process.

The experienced Wills and Estates lawyers at Turner Freeman Lawyers work exclusively in Estates and can assist you through the entire Estate Administration process.

What is Probate or a Grant of Probate?

What is Probate or a Grant of Probate?

When a person dies leaving a Will, certain legal procedures have to be followed before the estate can be distributed to beneficiaries.

The Will should have appointed an executor who is responsible for completing these procedures.

If you are appointed as an Executor by a person who has died leaving a Will, you may need to obtain a Grant of Probate in order to administer the Estate.

A Grant of Probate is an order granted by the Supreme Court of Queensland and verifies the authority of the Executor to deal with the Estate. It essentially acts as an indemnity and offers protection to banking institutions and other companies who hold money on behalf of the deceased person as it states that the Will is the last valid Will of the deceased and therefore the company is releasing the deceased person’s funds to the right person, the Executor of the last valid Will.

As the process can be complicated, Executors often need legal assistance to apply to the Court for Probate.

Once satisfied with all aspects of an application, the Court issues a Grant of Probate of the Will to the Executor in the form of a sealed document. This document is the legal authority for the Executor to deal with the assets of the Estate. The Executor’s duties are then to identify and collect the assets, pay the deceased’s debts and distribute the Estate according to the Will.

A Grant of Probate can only be made if there is a Will. If you cannot find a Will in the deceased’s personal papers, check with their bank or solicitor, or the Public Trustee of Queensland.

Probate will almost always be necessary if the deceased died with over $50,000 in a bank, and evidence of probate is often required before distribution. Banks may require evidence of probate before releasing the deceased’s funds or assets.

What is Letters of Administration?

What is Letters of Administration?

Where a person dies without a Will, or with a Will that does not have a valid Executor appointed, the person entitled to deal with the Estate of the deceased may be required to obtain a Grant of Letters of Administration from the Supreme Court of Queensland. A person who obtains a Grant of Letters of Administration is referred to as an “Administrator,” and they have the same role as an Executor.

For most Estates the process of obtaining a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration takes approximately 8 to 12 weeks, but this can vary significantly depending on:

  • The nature of the assets of the Estate;
  • The complexity of the Will; and
  • Establishing who are the deceased’s next of kin to determine who is entitled to be Administrator or who the beneficiaries are.

When is Probate or Letters of Administration required?

  • The requirement to obtain a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration is determined by the nature of the assets of the deceased’s Estate. For example, if the deceased has a minimal Estate Probate may not be required.
  • The requirement for Probate is also determined by which entities hold the assets of the deceased and what they require to release the asset to the Executor. For example, most banks require a Grant of Probate if the asset they hold exceeds a certain value.

Applying for a Grant of Probate

Process of applying for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration

You can apply for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration through a solicitor, a trustee company, the Public Trustee of Queensland or online services.

We strongly advise getting the assistance of a solicitor. At Turner Freemen a solicitor will advise you on all the relevant legal issues surrounding probate and assist you to deal with any difficulties. Being an executor is a time consuming and demanding role. A solicitor can simplify the process for all concerned.

If no executor was appointed in the Will, the court will appoint an administrator, usually the major beneficiary, to carry out the terms of the Will.

Executor of a Will

Roles and duties of an executor of a Will

As an Executor of a Will or Administrator of the Estate you have a number of duties and responsibilities you must carry out upon the deceased’s passing. These may include organising the deceased’s funeral, paying outstanding bills, debts and taxes.

These must be carried out diligently and as per the deceased’s wishes stated in their last Will.

For a full list of duties and responsibilities of an executor, please visit the Executor of a Will page.

Estate and Succession Planning

Turner Freeman Lawyers are experts in Wills and Estates law and can help with your Estate and Succession Planning. Passing family property or business interests from generation to generation requires careful strategic and financial planning. For example, if parents give a family business or other asset to their child and that child marries, only to divorce later, the asset or business might be divided.

Alternatively, parents might be concerned that one of their adult children will be careless with assets and will waste them. Good estate planning is the best way to minimise these risks. An inter-generational estate plan can help to preserve assets and provide for your family’s long-term future, including the continued operation of a family business or rural property.

This sort of planning can be extremely difficult for families whether their property or business be large or small. It is important to have an agreed and understood plan so that conflict is minimised, stress is lessened and efficiency and profitability can be either maintained or created.

At Turner Freeman we have an experienced and expert team in estate and succession planning for rural and other family business, and, if appropriate, offer advice on setting up a family trust.

How we can assist you

How we can assist you

  • If you are the Executor named in a Will of someone who recently died, then we can help.
  • If you are the next of kin of a person who died without a Will, it is possible that you may be able to apply to finalise the deceased’s Estate.
  • If you are a beneficiary of an Estate, we can help ensure you receive your share from the Estate.
  • We can provide you with advice about your legal rights and duties.

Contact our Wills and Estates team to make an appointment or to find out more about how we can help you.

Wills & Estates Team

Jenna Hutchinson - Senior Associate

Jenna Hutchinson Wills and Estates Solicitor in Brisbane | Turner Freeman Lawyers

Jenna Hutchinson heads our Queensland Wills & Estates Department at Turner Freeman Lawyers. She is based in our Brisbane office, however services clients state wide. She works exclusively in the area of Succession Law as this is where her passion lies.

Jenna’s clients appreciate her “hands-on” and direct approach that she provides at an especially difficult time in their lives when they lost a loved one.

Jenna always strives to do the best she can for her clients to ensure that their wishes are adhered to, as well as tries to achieve the best outcome for her clients if they have been unfairly left out of a Will. She is also experienced in defending the Estate against complex claims.

STEP wills and estates logo

Jenna is an active member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.


Brooke McMahon - Associate

Brooke McMahon estate solicitor Maroochydore | Turner Freeman Lawyers

Brooke McMahon is an Associate in our Sunshine Coast office. She practices in all estate planning matters and helps families understand the value of wills and estate planning. Brooke is passionate about bringing peace of mind and quality advice to local Sunshine Coast families to simplify what is generally a difficult or uncertain time in their lives.


Stephanie Saint James - Solicitor

Stephanie Saint James is a solicitor in our Brisbane office and works exclusively in Wills and Estates, and has worked in this area of law for a number of years.

Stephanie’s clients appreciate her experience in all aspects of estate law including estate planning, estate administration, guardianship matters and contested estates.

Stephanie is focused on achieving the best possible outcomes for her clients, combining experience with a practical approach.


Rebecca Irving - Paralegal

Rebecca Irving joined our team in 2015 as a secretary in our Wills and Estates Department in Brisbane to assist head of department, Jenna Hutchinson.

With her increasing interest in the law Rebecca was promoted to Estate Administration Paralegal November 2016.

Rebecca is committed to assisting our clients with administering their loved ones estates by providing clear and specific advice.


Catherine James - Paralegal

Catherine James works alongside Wills and Estates department head, Jenna Hutchinson in the Brisbane office. Catherine specialises in estate planning since joining Turner Freeman in 2017.

She brings over 10 years experience as a Senior Paralegal in succession and estate planning.

Catherine assists clients by providing clear and specific advice, drafting Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney and other necessary documents and then meeting with clients to finalise these documents.


Anna Kean - Paralegal

Anna Kean is a Paralegal in our Brisbane Office and specialises in Wills & Estates Law.

Since joining Turner Freeman Lawyers in 2014 Anna has worked exclusively with Wills and Estates assisting Jenna Hutchinson, Senior Associate in the Wills and Estates Department. Anna’s main focus is Estate Administration, as she has a passion for supporting families and providing sincere assistance to those dealing with the legal aspects of an estate during times of difficulty.

More information on Estate Administration

We have developed the information booklet below that summarises our Estate Administration services and process.

Turner Freeman Lawyers Estate Administration in Queensland

To view and print this PDF file, you will need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader software installed, which is available for free-of-charge from the Adobe website.

If you would like to request a copy of any of our printed materials, please complete the Contact Us form and we will gladly post them out to you.

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