Estate administration is the process of taking responsibility for the Estate of a deceased persons and distributing their assets as they wished. This can be done with or without a valid Will of the deceased.
A Will sets out the wishes of the deceased regarding how they would like their assets to be distributed upon their death.
Executor v Trustee
- Executors are responsible for administering the Estate in accordance with the Will, common law and the Succession Act. They collect all of the deceased’s assets and pay off their debts. They are whoever will become personally liable if something goes wrong.
Duties of Executors may include, but not limited to:
- getting Probate from the Supreme Court of Queensland,
- finding and notifying beneficiaries (named individuals in the Will who are to receive something from the Estate),
- identifying and paying the debts of the Estate,
- collecting, protecting, transferring and distributing the deceased’s assets (including gifts, household chattels, property, shares, bank accounts and valuables),
- preparing tax returns and getting income tax clearances.
- Trustees holds all the assets in trust until distributed to beneficiaries or transferred to any trusts created under the Will.
Often the Executor and Trustee is the same person, and the role shifts to from Executor to Trustee once the role is completed
Nominated Executors can renounce their appointment and if available the alternative executor(s) can act instead.
A person who passes with an invalid Will or no Will has left an intestate estate.
The deceased’s next of kin who survives them may be entitled to take interest in the residuary of their Estate. Depending on which next of kin survives the deceased their residuary may be divided differently. The survivorship hierarchy being:
- Issue (children)
- Next of kin
- Uncles and aunts.
Estate Administration regardless of the deceased passing with or without a Will is not a simple task. We advise to speak to our experienced Estate Administration solicitors to discuss any questions or concerns regarding the process.