Wills & Estates
NSW & ACT probate
BDN Lawyers have been providing guidance to their clients in probate and estate administration for more than 150 years.
The death of a loved one is understandably distressing and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Seeking guidance and assistance from a lawyer experienced in probate and estate administration is the best way for an executor to perform their role with confidence, and to ensure the smooth administration of the estate.
If a family member or close friend has passed away and you have been appointed as executor in the Will, you should contact a lawyer with experience in probate law and estate administration to discuss:
- Whether probate is required
- What probate involves
- Who is responsible for obtaining probate
- When and how can the estate be distributed
With offices in both Canberra and Queanbeyan, BDN Lawyers are uniquely suited to assist with probate and estate administration within both the ACT and NSW.
The person responsible for administering the estate is the executor. Usually, the Will of the deceased person will nominate the person (or persons) that is to perform the role of executor. The primary functions of the executor are to:
- Identify estate assets
- Apply for a grant of probate and
- Distribute the estate
A grant of probate is an order from the court confirming the validity of the deceased’s Will. The grant of probate provides evidence that the executor has the legal authority to collect and distribute the assets of the estate.
Whether an executor needs to obtain a grant of probate depends on the type and value of estate assets. Each State and Territory has different rules and processes relating to probate, and as such, it is prudent to seek legal advice from a solicitor skilled in probate and estate administration.
Probate is likely to be required where the estate involves:
- Real property (i.e. land)
- Significant numbers of shares
- Bank accounts of significant value
Ultimately, to determine whether probate is required, it is best to speak with a solicitor skills in probate and estate administration.
Frequently, property owned in joint names will not form part of the estate and ownership of the property will simply vest with the surviving joint owner. A common example of this is where a husband and wife own a property as joint tenants.
As a starting point, it is generally considered that superannuation will not form part of an estate unless a binding nomination has been made directing the superannuation to be paid to the executor of the estate.
If a Will exists but it fails to appoint an executor (or if the appointed executor has died), then it will be necessary to Apply for Letters of Administration to enable a person to be appointed as executor.