What steps have to be taken?

When somebody dies, the paperwork involved in proving the Will and in sorting out the deceased’s property can be daunting for the family.

Deceased estate administration

When someone dies the following steps have to be taken:

  • The Will should be read to make sure that you understand what it means.
  • The people named in the Will as trustees or executors apply to the High Court for a probate order confirming the Will and giving them authority to deal with estate assets.
  • If there is no Will then someone has to apply to the High Court for a grant of letters of administration giving them authority to deal with estate assets.
  • The executors (if there is a Will) or the administrators (if there is no Will) then, using the probate document or the letters of administration document, have to transfer the assets in accordance with the Will.

Sometimes probate or letters of administration are not required – usually if the estate is small. However, the period for which the trustees could be personally liable for estate assets is much longer than if the applicable orders are obtained, so the trustees may choose to get the order anyway.

Read this booklet published by Lawlink, a network of independent legal practices nationwide, for further information.