When someone dies, the deceased’s estate is represented by an executor or administrator. If the deceased person has made a Will it is the person(s) that have been named executor(s) who will be charged with the responsibility of implementing the terms of the Will and administering the estate.
Usually, subject to the value of an estate, an executor(s) is required to obtain what is called a Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court of the state in which the deceased lived. The Grant of Probate is a process whereby a deceased's Will is validated as being his or her last Will. Once a Grant of Probate has been made, an executor then has the responsibility of implementing the terms of the Will by distributing the assets of the estate to the nominated beneficiaries after payment of liabilities and expenses.
If a person dies without making a Will the distribution of his or her estate is governed by legislation. Usually a next of kin (mother, father, brother, sister) applies to the Court to be appointed as the estate's administrator. Once appointed, the administrator then distributes the assets of the estate in accordance with a formula set-out in the legislation.
If you require advice and assistance regarding any probate or estate administration matter contact us for additional information.
An often misunderstood but important part of the distribution of a deceased persons assets relate to claims on superannuation funds. This is a highly complex area which is dealt with outside the general administration of an estate and sometimes regardless of a will. Our experienced lawyers have expertise in this vital area.
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