Administration of Estates FAQs

What does 'administration of the estate' mean?
If you are someone’s personal representative, it is your job to identify and “get in” their assets and distribute them – either in accordance with the terms of their will or according to the rules that apply if a person dies without a will.
 
It is also your job to respond to and defend any claims made against the estate – for example, if someone contests the validity of the will or thinks they should have received a greater share of the estate.
 
How much will it cost to administer the estate?
The cost of administering an estate will depend on the type and amount of assets, the complexity of the will and whether any claims are made against the estate. Once we have had the chance to meet you and find out more about the will and the estate assets, we will be able to give you an idea of the likely cost of administering the estate.
 
Our costs will be reasonable – we will discuss them with you in detail before you instruct us to act on your behalf and will enter into a Costs Agreement with you.  We strongly recommend you seek independent legal advice about the Costs Agreement before you sign it.
 
How long does it take to administer an estate?
Again, the time it takes to administer an estate will be influenced by the type and amount of assets, the complexity of the will and whether any claims are made against the estate.  If, for example, someone claims the will is invalid, lengthy and expensive court proceedings could follow.
 
If a will creates a certain type of testamentary trust for family members, administration of the estate can potentially continue for as long as the trust is in place.
 
When we know more about the estate, we will be able to provide you with an estimate of the time it will take to administer.
 
Can I administer an estate myself?
Yes – it is possible to administer an estate without legal assistance.
 
However, estate administration is complicated. As a personal representative, you have many issues to think of and very serious responsibilities.  The estate will have ongoing taxation liabilities; decisions will need to be made about the sale or transfer of any shares owned by the estate and there will be taxation implications as a consequence; advice will need to be given to beneficiaries about the administration of the estate and their instructions will be required; decisions will need to be made about the sale of estate assets and financial advice obtained about that; depending on the estate assets, an application may need to be filed in the Supreme Court for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
 
Estate administration can be difficult and very time consuming. We are here to help you achieve the best outcome and assist you to carry out your responsibilities.