The time following the death of a loved one is always difficult.
The administration of a deceased estate can raise complex legal issues at an emotionally charged time.
Initial stages of an estate administration
It is often difficult to know what needs to be done immediately following a death.
Most formal steps in an estate administration cannot be undertaken without a death certificate as formal proof of a death.
Grant of administration
A grant of administration is the global term used to refer to both a grant of probate and a grant of letters of administration. Both confer formal authority on a person or persons to administer an estate.
Although there are differences in the process of obtaining either Grant, once obtained, they have the same legal effect.
A grant of probate is obtained when the deceased leaves a will with a valid appointment of an executor.
A grant of letters of administration is obtained when the deceased either does not leave a will or leaves a will that does not validly appoint an executor.
Anyone who obtains such a grant is called an administrator.
The process of estate administration is, at one level, relatively straight forward and consists of the following tasks:
- collect the assets of the deceased;
- pay estate debts;
- attend to taxation matters (if necessary); and
- distribute the estate according to the will and /or the law.
However, the size and composition of estates today means that assistance from professionals for some or all of these tasks will usually be necessary.
Duties of the executor
The rights and duties of an executor
Accepting an appointment as an executor can give rise to onerous and time-consuming obligations.
The rights of a beneficiary
As a beneficiary, it can be hard to know what to expect in terms of timeframes and information.
When you want to take care of loved ones, we’re with you.