Administration of Estates

This is another major area of our practice. We handle estates ranging from simple matters to highly complex estates involving complex family and asset–holding circumstances, sometimes discretionary trusts, and companies, and often where the Will is a testamentary trust Will.
A bare outline of the steps involved, omitting much detail, is:
  • an initial interview with the executor/s obtaining instructions as to the estate assets, debts and beneficiaries, and explaining the process;
  • making a decision as to whether it is necessary to apply for a grant of Probate. At law there is no legal requirement for such a grant. It is only a must where an asset requires it. For example the existence of real estate in the deceased’s name will trigger the requirement, but no joint asset will;
  • if necessary, advertising intention to apply for Probate on the Probate Office website;
  • writing to beneficiaries informing them as to their entitlements and providing a copy of the Will;
  • ascertaining with precision all estate assets, including by writing to all relevant companies and banks. Some assets, such as real estate, need to be valued;
  • where Probate is required, preparing the documents in support of the application for Probate, and having them sworn by the executor/s;
  • lodging the various documents at the Probate Office;
  • when Probate is granted, forwarding a certified copy, together with other requirements, to various companies and authorities where assets are held;
  • In accordance with the content of the will and the instructions of the Executors, either redeeming assets or transferring assets to beneficiaries;
  • attending to payment of all estate debts. Once all assets are collected and all debts paid, the executors are regarded at law as trustees, for the beneficiaries, of funds and assets in hand;
  • attending to payment of legacies; and
  • preparing a final administration account, which is signed by the executors