Shine Lawyers are experts in Wills and Estate Law who can help you administer an estate. The laws surrounding Estate Administration can be complex, and vary from state to state, so a lawyer with extensive experience in this area of the law can assist an executor to carry out their duties.
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Estate Administration is usually undertaken by an executor who is a person appointed in the deceased’s Will or when there is no Will by an administrator. The executor may need to apply for a Grant of Probate which is the Court’s official recognition that the Will is legally valid, and the executor is authorised to deal with the estate.
If you die without a Will, someone will be required to act as an administrator. To do this, they will need to obtain a Grant of Letters of Administration from the Court to be the administrator of your estate. If no one is willing or able to act as your executor, the Public Trustee may do so.
There are rules in place to determine how your estate will be distributed if you do not have a Will. These are known as the ‘Rules of Intestacy’. For example, in QLD:
If you have a surviving spouse but no children, the entire estate will go to your spouse
If you do not have a spouse but are survived by children, the estate will be divided equally between your children
If you are survived by a spouse and children, your spouse receives the first $150,000, the household chattels, and a share of the remaining estate. Your children then receive shares of the remaining estate with the spouse
What are the duties of an executor?
An executor’s primary responsibility is to gather the assets of the deceased estate and to pay any debts of the deceased. The executor then distributes the remaining assets to beneficiaries in accordance with the Will. Depending on the nature of the estate, an executor’s responsibilities may include:
Organising a funeral
Identifying the deceased’s assets and liabilities
Organising proper insurance cover for the deceased’s property
Closing bank accounts
Applying to the Court for a Grant of Probate which proves the validity of the Will and allows the executor to manage the assets of the estate
Selling or transferring the deceased’s house and other property
Paying any creditors
Liaising with beneficiaries
Distributing money and items to beneficiaries
Taking care of any taxation issues
Looking after assets or investments that have been left to anyone under 18 or with a legal disability
Representing the estate in any litigation (e.g., a contesting the Will) claim
Grant of Probate
If you’re named as the executor of a Will, you may need to apply for a Grant of Probate. This is the court’s official recognition that the Will is legally valid, and you’re authorised to deal with the estate. It will also provide you with some protection from liability and ensure you are acting on the last Will. If there is no executor appointed, or the executor is not able or willing to act, another willing person may apply to the Court for a Grant of Letters of Administration. This person could be, for example, a spouse, de facto spouse, child or next-of-kin. A Grant of Letters of Administration essentially gives you the same powers as a Grant of Probate.
The following information relates to Queensland only.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) is an independent body that assists Queenslanders in resolving disputes across a range of issues. One of these is in appointing someone to assist a person who has lost capacity and is unable to make decisions for themselves.
How Shine can help
We have helped thousands of Australians right wrong and access more than $1 billion per year in entitlements and compensation through our expert services.
95% of the cases we represent are settled without the stress of going to court.
With our 1000+ workforce and business maturity, we have the scale, expertise and agility to take on the tough cases and win.
We are ready to take action and ensure you receive your entitlement to right wrong.
Why trust Shine to be my Wills and Estate lawyers?
At Shine Lawyers, we put your first. We’ve been standing up for the rights of everyday Australians for over 45 years. As one of Australia’s largest litigation law firms, we are here to help you get the justice you deserve.
Our empathy, understanding and expertise is how we stay ahead of the pack. We’ll stand with you and guide you through every step of the way.