Wills, Estate Administration and Estates Litigation
Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be confusing and overwhelming. Kerin Lawyers are experienced in this area and they can guide and support you through the legal process.
Estate Planning (Making a Will)
Before an individual passes away, they may decide to create a formal Will and nominate and Executor in the Will. The Executor ensures that your wishes are carried out after you have passed away. If you want to ensure that your loved ones are provided for after your death, contact Kerin Lawyers to make your Will today.
Where to Start With a Deceased Estate
Handling the estate of a deceased friend or loved one as an Executor can seem like an overwhelming task. Aside from processing grief, you have the added pressure of honouring someone’s wishes while trying to navigate a complicated legal process.
The first question you need to ask is simple: do they have a Will?
There is no Will
If your loved one has passed away without a Will, there will be no executor appointed to start work on the estate and there will not be any formal instructions to help you determine what happens with their estate. Things can get very complicated, very quickly.
We understand that losing someone close to you is deeply upsetting. In addition to the emotional strain of dealing with the loss, you may need to quickly take care of practical matters such as organising their funeral, contacting different organisations (such as utility providers and superannuation funds), and working out the assets and debts of the estate.
Having supportive legal advice can make all the difference.
How is an Intestate Estate Dealt With?
Dying without a Will is known as “dying intestate”. This is not an ideal situation, but it’s far more common than you think.
If your loved one has passed without a Will, an application needs to be made to the Court to appoint a person to act as the Administrator of the estate. This is because there is no Executor appointed by a Will to manage the affairs.
This application is referred to as an application for a Grant of Letters of Administration on intestacy and it’s the first thing you need to do. The process can be complex and you may need to have a lawyer assist you in making the application.
In all cases where it is necessary to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration, it is usually the person with the greatest entitlement to the estate, as determined by applying the intestacy formula, that applies for the Grant. For example, if a spouse or partner survives the deceased, they would usually bring the application. If the deceased is survived by children (and no spouse/partner) then one or more of them could apply.
There is a Will
When someone names you as the executor of a Will, you become responsible for their estate and their final wishes on their death.
Being an Executor of a Will can feel overwhelming for some people, but it with the right legal advice it does not need to be.
Your main role as Executor is to represent the person who has passed away and deal with all of their personal, financial and legal affairs. Ideally, the Will-maker will have explained how they would like you to carry out your duties in their Will.
Here is a list of the main responsibilities you now have as an executor of a Will:
1. identify the assets and liabilities of the estate,
2. protect these assets (ie. store them safely where necessary and make sure they are insured),
3. apply to the Court for a Grant of Probate where necessary,
4. collect the assets of the estate and hold them on behalf of the estate prior to them being distributed,
5. make sure all estate liabilities, including tax, have been paid,
6. defend the estate from any challenges, and
7. distribute the estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will.
If you need advice on administering a Will, our Wills & Estates lawyers can guide you through the process and ensure you make informed decisions giving you peace of mind that you are meeting your obligations as Executor.
What Can Kerin Lawyers Do to Help?
We can help take the pressure off you during this stressful time. Our lawyers manage everything and you can be sure that the estate will be handled professionally and impartially.
If you would like us to administer the estate of your loved one, or you would like to discuss the options available to you please to not hesitate to contact us for a free no obligation consultation with our lawyers today.
Family Provision Claim (Estate Litigation)
Family provision claims are also know as contesting or disputing a Will or an Estate.
You may be able to contest a Will if:
• You were not adequately provided for in the Will;
• You were not listed as a beneficiary when you feel you should have been;
If you feel you are in this situation, contact Kerin Lawyers and we will be able to advise you whether you are eligible to bring such a claim upon an Estate or to challenge a will.
Steps and Time Limits
Strict time limits apply and you must act quickly if you wish to contest a Will.
For family provision claims notice of the claim to the Personal Representative or Executor of the deceased Estate must be made within six months of death.
Court proceedings must be commenced within nine months of the date of death.
It is very important that you do not miss these limitations as they are extremely strict and you will lose your rights if you delay.
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 LAWYER.