Administer an Estate in Brisbane
When a loved one dies, there is often uncertainty surrounding what to do next. In such an emotional time, it is important to receive clear, compassionate guidance to help answer any questions you might have about what to do next.
If you are seeking further information about how to administer an estate in Brisbane, please call us. For more information about our Deceased estate administration services, please download the information brochure below or call us on 07 3229 2215.
These questions are the most commonly asked questions from our clients who seek our help to administer an Estate.
If you are asked for a copy of the Will by a person named in the Will of the deceased, a prior Will of the deceased or by a member of the deceased’s immediately family, a copy of the Will must be provided pursuant to section 33Z of the Succession Act. There is little point refusing to disclose a copy of the Will to anyone who asks because our experience is that when people don’t disclose a copy of the Will when asked, it creates the suspicion that there is something to hide.
Anyone can organise a funeral. However we would suggest, if it is possible, that the Will is found and read because there may be some directions left in the Will by the Deceased person about what they would like. If there are any arguments about the funeral arrangements, the Executor has the right to make the final decision.
You will need to discuss this with the funeral home, however if there is any money in the Deceased’s bank accounts, the bank will pay the funeral tax invoice should it be provided to them but otherwise the Deceased’s bank accounts will then be frozen. If there are insufficient funds in the Deceased’s bank accounts then the responsibility for payment will usually fall to the person who organises the funeral. If someone pays the funeral bill, they are entitled to be reimbursed from the estate for that money before payment to any beneficiaries is made.
A Will should firstly appoint an Executor. The Executor is the person who is to administer the Deceased person’s estate. The Will should also deal with all assets which are held in the Deceased’s name as at the date of his or her death. A Will may not effectively deal with other assets of the Deceased, such as superannuation or life insurance. When you administer an estate in Brisbane, it is important to look at each of these assets to determine who will receive them upon the Deceased’s death. It is very important that any person acting as the Deceased’s Executor follows the terms of the Will exactly.
An Executor’s job is to collect the Estate assets, pay the Estate debts and then distribute the Estate in accordance with the terms of the Will. Sometimes as part of the responsibility to administer an estate in Brisbane, the Executor will be required to defend the Estate from various claims from debtors of the Deceased or from the Deceased’s family members who may commence Court proceedings against the estate to dispute the terms of the Will. In those circumstances, the Executor’s job in those circumstances is to uphold the terms of the Will and to maximise the value of the Estate so far as is reasonable. If the Executor faces a claim which is strong then the Executor should look to settle the claim before incurring significant costs.
If the Deceased died without making a Will it means they died “intestate.” In an Intestate Estate, the Estate will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy. The Succession Act and the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules determine who can act to administer the Estate and also how the estate is to be distributed. As a general guide, the Deceased’s spouse, children and the parents will be the most likely to be required to act to administer the estate of a Deceased person who died intestate.
A Grant of Probate is a document which issues from the Supreme Court. Obtaining a Grant of Probate offers protection for an Executor. Some banks and financial institutions will require an Executor to obtain the Grant of Probate before they will close the Deceased’s bank accounts and pay the funds to the Estate.
If an Executor engages a lawyer to assist to administer an estate in Brisbane, all legal fees are payable from the estate. At The Estate Lawyers, we don’t want to see our Executor clients dip into their own pockets to pay estate costs more than they have to, even if they will be reimbursed from the estate later. If paying legal fees as an Executor from your own pocket is a concern, talk with us about acting on the basis that once the estate assets are realised, then we receive payment at that time.