Our estate lawyers deal with four main kinds of estate administration in Queensland.
Will with no probate
The most common form of estate administration encountered by our estate lawyers is where a person has left a Will, the executor is willing and able to act, and the nature of the estate assets is such that it is not necessary to go to the expense of applying for probate.
Many assets are held in forms where it is necessary to apply for probate before they will be released. This might include substantial bank accounts or other financial assets. Where the holders of assets do not require the production of a grant of probate, then in many cases the estate can be administered without going to the expense of obtaining one. That said, where probate is not granted, the requirements of asset holders to release the asset are usually more stringent and sometimes it is more cost effective to obtain the probate than to comply with those added requirements, particularly if there are multiple assets.
That said, in a case where all substantial assets are held in joint names, and there is no risk of litigation, it is often the case that the administration of the estate can proceed without obtaining a grant of probate.
Will with probate
The next most common form of administration is where the executor named in the Will is prepared to act, but it is preferred or necessary to obtain a grant of probate. An application for a grant of probate is made to the Supreme Court of Queensland. It is advertised but can generally be obtained within two to three months of instructions being given to our estate lawyers, subject to any difficulties obtaining a death certificate.
Obtaining a grant of probate can make it much easier to obtain the release of the assets of the estate to the executors, as it constitutes evidence that the executors are the persons permitted to deal with those assets.
Letters of administration with the Will annexed
Where a valid Will has been left but the executor is unwilling or unable to act, then it is usually necessary to obtain a grant of letters of administration with the Will annexed from the Supreme Court of Queensland.
When applying for a grant of letters of administration with the Will annexed, a similar process to that of obtaining probate is followed save that the reason for the inability of the executor to act must be proved and the correctness of the appointment of the proposed executor established.
Once the letters of administration are issued, the estate can be administered in accordance with the terms of the Will in the same fashion as it would where a probate was obtained.
Letters of administration in intestacy
Where there is no Will, and save for in the case of a very small estate, it is usually necessary to apply to the Supreme Court for a grant of letters of administration in intestacy, the person who should be appointed as executor will usually depend upon whether the deceased person has been survived by a spouse, and the distribution of the estate is carried out in accordance with Schedule 2 of the Queensland Succession Act 1981.
Our estate lawyers can assist and advise in these various forms of estate administration.