Administration of Estates
Who looks after the deceased's legal matters?
Do you need a Grant of Probate? or
Letters of Administration?
How quickly do you need to act.
When can you access the deceased's money and assets?
Have you been left out of a Will?
Will you be able to successfully challenge their Will?
When a person dies someone is required to act as their personal legal representative.
That person will then administer the deceased's estate and will be known as
- the Executor (where there is a Will) or
- an Administrator (where there is no Will).
To prove their entitlement to act in that position they apply to the Supreme Court to obtain:
- a grant of probate (where there is a valid Will), or
- a grant of letters of administration (where there is no Will),
- a grant of letters of administration with the Will annexed (where there is a Will but no executor appointed or available to prove the Will and deal with the estate).
The duties of the personal representative, either an executor or administrator, are:
- to arrange for the funeral (normally subject to the deceased's or family wishes and any request in the Will);
- to prove the Will (if any), and if there is no Will, to locate the next of kin;
- to collect the assets of the estate and preserve them for the benefit of the estate and the
- beneficiaries-and arrange insurance if necessary;
- to ascertain liabilities and pay the debts of the estate, if any;
- to be responsible for income tax returns of the deceased to date of death, and of the
- estate to the date of distribution and to pay such assessments from the estate;
- to keep proper accounts and records of estate assets and liabilities and of their
- distribution and payment; and
- to distribute the net assets of the estate among the beneficiaries entitled and obtain
The duties of the personal representative involve the making of many practical decisions, such as:
- calculation of capital gains tax and distributions in specie or sale of assets;
- investing cash assets, or continuing existing investments, pending distribution to the
- deciding on priority of payment of debts and distribution among beneflciaries
- especially where the estate administration continues over a period of time
- and/or in an interim fashion.