Deceased Estates

“When the time comes for your wishes to be carried out, we will help the executor, named in your will, accomplish complex and involved tasks including collection and realisation of estate assets, probate and transmission applications and distribution of the estate.”

When it comes time for your wishes to be carried out, our wills and probate lawyers have the expertise to help ensure the intentions expressed in the will are put into effect. Our team of lawyers is able to assist the executor to ensure management of your estate is undertaken in a timely and efficient manner. We undertake tasks including collection and realisation of estate assets, probate and transmission applications and distribution of the estate.

An executor’s role can be complex, involved and daunting. Ensuring that the deceased’s intentions, expressed in their will, are carried out accurately is a heavy responsibility. It is understandable, and even strongly recommended that an executor seek expert advice and help when it comes to executing a deceased’s will, especially, when they are required to manage a large and complex estate.

Understanding the will.

The first and most important step in the will execution process is understanding the will, identifying the beneficiary parties and initiating the distribution process as quickly and efficiently as possible.

As specialist wills and estates lawyers, we are able to assist executors with these issues to ensure the intentions of the deceased are met in the distribution of their estate. Many of our clients choose to appoint Parke Lawyers to assist their nominated executors at the time of preparing their wills. This provides for a logical and practical solution to ensure that expert advice and help are at hand when the time comes to execute the will and administering the deceased estate.

Role and duties of executors.

The executor is appointed by the will maker, the deceased, to act as an administrator of the deceased’s estate and carrying out the instructions specified in the their will.

The executor’s role generally include:

  • Making arrangements for the funeral, burial or cremation of the deceased. These arrangements can, as they often do, be made with the family of the deceased and in line with the deceased’s wishes. The cost of the funeral is often paid first from the deceased’s estate.
  • Locating and producing the deceased’s last will and identifying beneficiaries named in the will.
  • Making an application for grant of probate and producing, to the court, all documentary evidence including proof of death, the deceased’s will as well as details of the estate including assets and liabilities. A grant of probate means that the court recognises the deceased has passed away, the will is valid and the executor has the power to administer the estate.
  • Making payments for the debts and liabilities of the deceased. These payments are made from the deceased estate.
  • Lodging and finalising tax returns and taxation matters for the deceased directly with the Australian Taxation Office.
  • Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries, and organising the transfer of assets, after, at least, six months from the date of the deceased’s death and after publishing a notice in relation to the deceased’s estate requiring any party, with a claim to the deceased estate, to make their claim. The distribution of the estate must be carried out in accordance with the wishes of the deceased expressed in the will.

Duty to act in the interest of the estate.

An executor must act in the interests of the estate and not his or her own interest. This requirement applies even when the executor is also a beneficiary. In cases of conflict of interest, Family Provision proceedings or Contested Will Claims, the court can order the appointment of a new representative and the executors must, in those circumstances act in a passive manner.

An executor has a duty to declare any conflict of interest that exists, or may arise, before or during the course of executing the deceased’s will.

Legal advice and help.

At the time of preparing your will, we will recommend appointing Parke Lawyers to assist the executors named in your will to carry out their duties in a timely and efficient manner. Executors who have not engaged legal representatives to assist them in their duties can also contact us to obtain the advice and assistance they require.

We help executors in the following areas:

  • Providing advice and explaining the role, duties and rights of the executor.
  • Preparing and filing required forms and documents.
  • Providing assistance in identifying the deceased’s assets, debts and liabilities (Realisation of the estate).
  • Providing advice on the payments of liabilities and distribution of the estate.

In addition, we will advise the executor on taxation issues including their responsibilities to lodge and finalise tax returns for the deceased. Parke Lawyers is registered as a tax agent with the Tax Practitioners Board (registration number 24695765) and we have an in-house tax agent, to attend to any taxation matters that arise in managing the estate.

The next step.

If you have a will in which you name an executor, we strongly recommend appointing Parke Lawyers to assist the executor when the time comes to executing your will. We will, of course review your will and advise you whether any changes or updates would be required in light of your current circumstances.

If you are an executor appointed in a deceased will, you can instruct us to advise and assist you in carrying out your executor duties efficiently and in a manner that safeguards the estate and avoid, as much as possible, claims or actions against the will.

Contact us to make an appointment to arrange for a meeting with our Wills and Probate Lawyers.

WILLS, WILL DISPUTES & ESTATES

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