Estate administration – time frames

Our lawyers are regularly asked a number of the following questions:

  1. How long does an estate administration take?

An estate administration will typically take between six months and one year from the date of death of the deceased. However, the estate administration may not always be simple and can involve a number of delays.

  1. What is an “Executor’s Year”

The Succession Act provides that if legacies are not paid within 12 months of the date of death, then the executor must pay interest on them at 8 per cent. Thus, a rule of convenience known as the “executor’s year” arose.  It is, however, just a rule of convenience, and apart from the issue of legacy interest, does not require an executor to administer an estate in one year. There are many matters outside of the executor’s control that might mean the administration properly extends beyond one year.

  1. Why are Queensland estate administrations not completed inside 6 months?

An executor should be alive to the possibility of an application being commenced by a family member for “further and better provision” out of the estate. Such applications are referred to as “Family Provision Applications”. The Succession Act requires that if such an application is to be made, notice in writing must be given to an executor within 6 months of the date of the will maker’s death. The Succession Act 1981 affords an executor protection from liability where distributions are made after the expiration of this six month period, either:

a. without notice of a claim, or

b. where notice has been received but the distribution is made after nine months from the date of death and there has been no written notice that the proceedings have been commenced.

Further Reading

Family provision applications