Grant of Probate or Letters of administration
Should you die without a Will, or if the Will is invalid, you will be deemed to have died intestate. If there is a Will, the named Executor will need to apply to the Supreme Court for a Grant of Probate. If there is no Will, then a family member will need to apply and file for Letters of Administration.
Circumstances may also arise to complicate the application or provide that and application for a Grant of Probate is not required. In any case, it is strongly recommended to seek specialised legal advice as soon as you are notified of the deceased’s death.
Obligations of Administrator/Executor
It is the Executor or Administrator’s duty to administer the estate. This includes:
- Managing the Deceased’s Funeral and associated costs.
- Preparing and filing applications for Grants of Probate, Letters of Administration and Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed (mentioned above).
- Ensure all assets are brought in and secured.
- Publishing legal notices to creditors and beneficiaries.
- Settling all debts with potential creditors.
- Distributing all remaining assets to real estate to beneficiaries or surviving joint tenants in accordance to the Will. This process will include, for example, managing the process of selling real estate and shares.
- Should there be legal proceedings against your will; the Executor will also be the representative Defendant to the action in Family Provision Act 1972 (WA) claims.
The Executor/Administrator must also ensure that they:
- Fulfil any additional duties. This may include for example, Insurance of all assets, managing interests of the estate, investment of unused funds.
- Comply with any tax obligations such as file tax returns to the Australian Tax Office.
Administering an Estate can be quite difficult. As the Executor owes a fiduciary duty to the Estate, it is important for the Executor to seek legal guidance when attending to his/her duties. HHG are highly qualified and able to assist you with every step of managing a deceased estate, including preparing the application for a Grant, administering the Estate, advertising for and liaising with creditors, distributing to beneficiaries and transferring assets.
If family disputes arise, HHG has considerable expertise in Estate litigation and Family Provision Act 1972 (WA) claims. Our team is able to ensure that you, as the manager of the deceased estate, are adequately defending the Estate’s interests. Should the Executor/Administrator fail to appropriately manage the Estate, they may also face claims by potential creditors. Likewise, we are also able to assist with taxation matters and provide advice where required. Failure to lodge sufficient tax returns or pay any outstanding taxation liabilities can result in both administrative and criminal penalties.
Most of all, HHG Legal Group employs a personal, but practical approach to legal representation while you grieve the loss of a loved one.