We’ve been securing estates since 1983. Our experience over this time and administering thousands of estates has given us significant insight and depth on the process and we want to share it with you.
There are several stages during the administration phase which generally includes:
confirming the assets and liabilities of the estate;
calculating applicable tax implicating (for example, capital gains tax);
advertising that you intend to apply for a Grant of Representation;
applying for the Grant of Representation;
calling in and realising the assets;
paying due debts, legacies and bequests; and
distributing the estate.
Step One: Confirming the Assets and Liabilities
You need to confirm all the assets and liabilities before obtaining valuations.
Generally, you will prepare a statement of assets and liabilities and this may be provided to the Supreme Court of Queensland at a later stage.
Step Two: Calculating the Tax Implications
As an individual, a tax return from the period commencing 1 July until the date of death must be prepared and lodged on behalf of the deceased person by the executor or administrator of the estate.
If there is a special trust involved, then the executor or administrator will also need to complete a tax return for it in respect of the income received or derived by the estate. This may involve lodging this every financial year until such time that the estate is fully administered.
As discussed in another article accessible by clicking here, there may be special capital gain tax (CGT) rules which apply.
We always advise of the importance of a expert financial planner / accountant so that you can perform your obligations.
Step Three: Advertising
Before you can apply for a Grant of Representation in Queensland, you will need to advertise your Notice of Intention to Apply for a Grant. This is required in accordance with the Succession Act 1981 (Qld).
You may also need to publish a statutory notice to creditors of the deceased person, so that they can lodge a claim against the estate and prove the debt. Generally, no distribution of the estate can be made until this notice has expired.
You will generally do this through the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for the State of Queensland. There is nominal fee for same. For more information, click here.
Step Four: Applying for the Grant of Representation
Depending on the size of the estate, the executor will generally need to obtain a Grant of Representation. This may be in the form of Probate or Letters of Administration. The type of Grant of Representation will depend on whether there is a Will, or the person has died without one (otherwise known as intestate).
Depending on what you are applying for, there are several forms to complete, including Affidavits and this can be complex. That’s why we’re here to help.
Step Five: Calling in and Realising the Estate Assets
Once the Supreme Court of Queensland issues the Grant of Representation, the executor is able to call in and realise the assets, pay liabilities and finally pay any legacy or bequest. This may be in accordance with the terms of the Will, an Order of the Court, a Deed of Family Arrangement, the intestacy provisions or otherwise.
The executor should be cautious, however, of any notices of a claim being made as against the estate. This will result in delay and a Court proceeding and/or settlement.
If you are the executor and on notice, or your intent to put an estate on notice (whether because you have been left out of a Will or adequate provision or are otherwise a creditor), you should immediately contact us.
The situation may be more complex for children and you may need to invest on their behalf until they reach the age specified in the Will / age of majority being 18 years in Queensland. For more information on the duty to invest, click here.
Step Six: Paying Debts, Legacies and Bequests
If there are no claims as against the estate and enough time has elapsed, it may now be appropriate to commence paying due liabilities and specific gifts. In so doing, the executor should always make sure that they have identified the beneficiaries and determined whether they are bankrupt (this is important for reasons not now canvassed).
Step Six: Distribution
If there are no claims as against the estate, enough time has elapsed and payment of liabilities and specific bequests have been completed, the executor will finally be able to distribute the remainder of the estate.
The executor should always make sure that they have properly identified the beneficiaries and again determined whether they are bankrupt.
Once the distribution of the estate has been finalised, each beneficiary who is entitled to share in the estate should be provided with a final distribution statement.
For estates which involve life tenancies or ongoing management, there may be more monitoring and planning that is necessary to ensure appropriate strategies are put in place (including in relation to tax).
We’ve been securing estate since 1983, let us help you
Administering an estate can be long and complex. It can take at least six (6) months and sometimes a lifetime!
Having been securing estates for so long, our team is experienced and equipped with the resources to get the job done quickly, efficiently and properly.
Disclaimer: This publication is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. We are unable to ensure the information is current and there is no guarantee in relation to accuracy. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content of this publication.
© Scott A. Green, Associate Solicitor