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What is administering a Will?

Before you can administer an estate, you generally need to ensure that you have the appropriate authority from the Court to do so. This is done by obtaining a Grant of Representation from the Court.

Generally, the type of Grant of Representation you require will depend on whether or not the deceased person had a valid Will.

If you have been appointed to administer an estate in a Will, you are known as the executor. This means you are responsible for calling in the assets of the estate, paying any debts and liabilities, and then distributing the assets of the person who has died, according to the terms of the Will.

 

There is a Will

In situations where there is a valid Will, in most cases you will need to apply for a Grant of Probate.

What's a Grant of Probate?

A Grant of Probate is an order from the court to say that a Will is valid, and the executor has authority to collect and distribute the assets in accordance with the Will.  

Our probate lawyers can help you understand if you need a Grant of Probate, as well as assisting you with other administration tasks, including:

  • Completing your application 
  • Advising on the requirements for a Grant of Probate
  • Distributing the estate
  • Your duties as an executor


What do I need to apply for probate?

  1. Summary of estate: assets and liabilities. This will include a summary of any properties owned, outstanding debts, cash and shares, and the value of any other assets such as jewellery or family heirlooms.
  2. The original Will. You'll need to locate the original hard copy signed Will - this may be held by a trusted person such as an accountant or lawyer, or it might be stored with the deceased’s personal papers. You cannot apply for probate without a Will.
  3. A certified copy of the death certificate. You will need the full death certificate of the deceased person. You can obtain this from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry in your state. 

You may also be asked to provide originals and photocopies of relevant documents such as birth or marriage certificates, and other documents confirming your relationship with the deceased.

What's the process? 

  1. Reach out to our expert probate team. Contact us by phone, email, or online. Our probate team is ready to help you. 
  2. Gather all of the documents. This includes the deceased’s financial information, the title for any real estate, the original Will and death certificate. Our expert team can help you with everything else you'll need to apply for a Grant of Probate.
  3. We'll apply for probate. Our team will complete your application for a Grant of Probate, and the other necessary tasks to manage the estate. 
  4. Distribution of the estate. Once probate is granted, our expert lawyers can also help with distributing the estate. Payment will also be made out of the estate (We do not ask for payment upfront. You will be provided with our invoice when probate is granted).

How long will this process take? 

It is generally expected that an executor will start the application process within 3 months of the date of death. A Grant of Probate can be obtained in around six weeks from the time you submit your application and provide us with necessary documents. The administration of the estate should then be completed within 12 months. 

What happens if I don't obtain a Grant of Probate?

If the estate includes assets in bank accounts, shares, property or superannuation which require probate to be released, these assets cannot be distributed.

Start your online application for probate now. 

There is not a Will

In situations where there is not a valid Will, you will need to apply for Letters of Administration.

What are Letters of Administration?

Letters of Administration give legal authority to a person, or people (called "the Administrator") to administer an estate when an executor has not been appointed due to the absence of a Will, or where the nominated executor has died and there was no substituted executor appointed. The Administrator is usually the person who is entitled to the estate, such as a spouse or dependant, or the next of kin of the deceased. 

Our wills and estates lawyers can help you understand if you need Letters of Administration, as well as:

  • Completing your application 
  • Advising on the requirements for Letters of Administration
  • Distributing the estate
  • Your duties as an executor


What do I need to apply for Letters of Administration?

  1. Summary of estate: assets and liabilities. This will include a summary of any properties owned, outstanding debts, cash and shares, and the value of any other assets such as jewellery or family heirlooms.
  2. The original Will. You'll need to locate the original hard copy signed Will - this may be held by a trusted person such as an accountant or lawyer, or it might be stored with the deceased’s personal papers. You cannot apply for probate without a Will.
  3. A certified copy of the death certificate. You will need the full death certificate of the deceased person. You can obtain this from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry in your state.

You may also be asked to provide originals and photocopies of relevant documents such as birth or marriage certificates, and other documents confirming your relationship with the deceased.

This can be a complex process at a stressful time. If you need Letters of Administration, we can help speed up the process and take the administrative burden from you.

How long will the process take? 

It is generally expected that an Administrator will start the process within 3 months of the date of death. The administration of the estate should be completed within 12 months. 

What happens if I don’t apply for Letters of Administration?

If there is no Will and you have not applied for Letters of Administration, no one has the authority to administer the estate and call in the estate assets. Also, financial institutions holding the assets of the deceased may refuse to release those assets depending on their policies.

Use our fixed fee online service to apply for Letters of Administration now. 

Lower value estates

A Grant of Probate is not always required when administering lower value estates.

In situations where the estate is small or of low value, and there is a valid Will, the executor will not usually need to apply for Probate.

For smaller estates where there is no Will, you may be able to avoid applying for Letters of Administration as well, although this is less common. If this is the case, you can speak to the relevant financial institutions such as banks and superannuation funds to find out whether assets can be released without Letters of Administration.

If the estate includes property in the form of real estate, however, you will generally require a grant of representation, whether it be a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration.

If you're unsure whether you need to apply for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, contact us today. Our expert estate administration lawyers can help you navigate the process and take on the administrative burden for you.

Why Maurice Blackburn?

We have a dedicated wills and estate team who specialise in Supreme Court applications for Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration. 

We will handle the application on your behalf, advise you on any requirements and take the stress out of your role by helping you to complete all of your administration duties. 

Fixed fee

Our flat $2200* fee includes preparation and lodging of your application to the Supreme Court  - and can be claimed against the estate. 

*Online only offer. Incl. GST but excl. other applicable court fees.

Local advice

We have substantial experience managing complex applications and understand the nuances of different states laws.

Flexible options

You can choose to complete the process in person, or via video, with one of our lawyers, or apply online with our easy to use portal. 

Our experienced wills and estates lawyers are here to help. 

Get in touch to find out where you stand. 

It doesn't cost you anything to know where you stand 

1800 305 568
We take calls 24/7

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Our Canberra office is now closed, but our team continues to serve ACT clients and are available for phone and video appointments. If you need legal advice, please call us on 1800 675 346.

We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.