Estate Administration, Probate and Estate Disputes
We provide a full range of Estate Administration legal services to people in Maitland and the Lower Hunter Valley, including:
Applications for Grants of Probate or Letters of Administration where a person dies without a Will;
Providing advice and assistance on the administration of estates, including the sale of assets, collection of assets, payment of liabilities and distribution to beneficiaries, including where trusts and corporate entities are involved; and
Providing advice on contesting wills and estates, including family provision claims and other court applications, such as contesting a Grant of Probate or an application to remove an executor.
If you require assistance with estate administration or contested wills, book an appointment with us here.
Administering Estates with a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
If a person dies with a Will and held assets in New South Wales, it may be a requirement for the Executor of the estate to apply for a Grant of Probate. A Grant of Probate is formal approval to the Executor from the Supreme Court of New South Wales that a will is valid and it authorises the Executor to administer the will in accordance with the law, including the collection of assets, payment of debts owed, distributing to beneficiaries and completion of tax returns (where required).
If person dies without a Will and held assets in New South Wales, the next of kin may need to apply for Letters of Administration to administer the estate of the deceased. The law of intestacy will apply and often a person that is entitled to a benefit from the estate under the law of intestacy can make an application to the court for letters of administration. Similar to a Grant of Probate, the Letters of Administration will provide authority to the Administrator appointed under the Letters of Administration to administer the estate in accordance with the law, including the collection of assets, payment of debts owed, distributing to beneficiaries and completion of tax returns (where required).
How much does it cost to apply for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
The costs involved in the administration of an estate is paid by from the estate assets and there is no obligation on the Executor or Administrator to use their own funds to pay the costs of the estate.
Often, there are two costs associated with obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration:
- Filing Fee: This is paid to the Supreme Court and varies depending on the gross value of the estate. For example, an estate with a gross value of $1,500,000 will have a filing fee of $2,224 (no GST is payable);
- Solicitors Fee: This fee is paid to your solicitor and the rate is set by the Supreme Court based on the gross value of the estate. For example, an estate with a gross value of $1,500,000 will have a scale fee of $6,300 excluding GST. However, you can negotiate a lower fee with your solicitor as this is a maximum charge.
Once a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is received, an Executor or Administrator must then administer the estate, including collecting and selling assets, paying liabilities and then distributing the estate in accordance with the will (or intestacy if no will was found).
If you engage us to assist with the administration of the estate, there will be additional fees above those outlined above for obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. For an average Estate, our fee for administration of the estate is between $500 and $1,500 including GST.
Estate Disputes: Contesting a will (Family Provision claims) and Contested Court Applications
Family Provision Claims
In New South Wales, it is possible for a person to contest a will if they are eligible to do so under the Succession Act. This is called a Family Provision Claim and it is a request made to a court for provision to be made from a deceased person’s estate to the claimant. The following people may make a family provision claim:
- A spouse (or former spouse);
- A person who was living in a de facto relationship with the deceased;
- A child of the deceased;
- A person living in a close personal relationship at the time of the deceased person’s death; and
- A person who was dependent on the deceased and was a part of the deceased person’s household.
It is important to note that if you would like to make a claim, you have a time limit of 12 months from the date of the deceased’s death to do so. If you would like to find out whether you are eligible to make a claim, please call us on 4934 6899 or book here for a free initial consultation with us to discuss your options.
If you are administering an estate and a person has advised you that they are going to make a family provision claim, there are strict obligations on the Executor or Administrator to ensure that no distribution is made from the estate until the matter is resolved. You should speak to a solicitor to ensure you are complying with your obligations as an Executor or Administrator.
Other Estate Disputes
Estate disputes can occur for a variety of reasons and may involve complex court applications. We can provide you with assistance on these matters and advise on you on appropriate strategies to avoid lengthy and costly delays to the administration of the estate.
- Common estate disputes include:
- Disputes about the validity of a Will;
- Disputes about how to interpret a Will;
- Disputes between Executors or Administrators;
- Breach of trust and obligations, such as misappropriate of estate assets or delayed administration; and
- Applications for a revocation of a grant of representation, removal or passing over of an Executor;
If you would like to know more about how to deal with Estate Disputes, please book a free initial consultation with us to discuss your options.