When a family member passes away, their family may be left with a need to settle unresolved debts as well as distribute estate assets. This can be stressful for the family of the deceased person and legal advice from a probate lawyer may be required.
The probate lawyers at Owen Hodge are highly experienced in the legal processes of estate administration and advising on executor duties. Should you need their assistance, they are here to help your family settle debts and distribute assets according to the Last Will and Testament of your deceased family member.
So, to better understand probate law and the finer points of executor duties, please read through this FAQ or feel free to contact our experienced probate lawyers for more information.
Estate Administration FAQ Answered By Our Sydney Probate Lawyers
What is probate?
Probate is the process by which there is confirmation that a Will has been validly made and approved by the Supreme Court.
Who applies for probate?
A grant of probate gives the Executor/s the authority to deal with the assets of the estate. In some small estates, it may not be necessary to obtain probate. If the only asset listed during estate planning was a bank account, bank rules may allow a small account to be closed without probate. Probate lawyers can help you determine the need for probate.
Do all Wills have to go through probate in Australia?
The short answer is no. However, if there are significant amounts of money, real estate or shares, probate is most likely required. Contact our team of probate lawyers at Owen Hodge Lawyers today to see if you need to apply for probate.
Do I require probate if I own my assets jointly with my spouse?
If a person’s assets are all jointly owned, no grant of probate is required.
How long does probate take?
The process of obtaining a grant of probate should be concluded within 8 to 12 weeks of the date of death.
What are the fees involved in obtaining probate?
The Supreme Court charges probate fees to process the application. The court also regulates what probate lawyers may charge for the legal work, based on the size of the estate.
Why do I need a Death Certificate?
An original death certificate is required for an application for probate and to allow for the administration of the estate.
What happens if you don’t do probate?
If you don’t apply for probate (and it’s necessary for the estate), the deceased assets can’t be transferred to the beneficiaries. There may also be additional expenses incurred by the estate and/or the creditors may still pursue payments for the deceased’s debts.
What does a probate attorney do for you?
Probate lawyers are not obligatory, however, administration of estates can be quite complex and may require a considerable amount of time to undertake all the tasks that are required.
There are legal requirements that must be satisfied to comply with the law and if you are an Executor, it is probably wise to at least gain some initial legal advice from an expert lawyer specialising in probate at the earliest opportunity.
What is an Executor?
An Executor is a legal term referring to the person named by a maker of a Will, or nominated by the testator, to carry out the directions of the Will. Typically, the executor is the person responsible for offering the Will for probate, although it is not absolutely required that he or she do so.
Can I access the deceased’s bank account?
Most banks will give an executor immediate access to bank accounts of less than $5000. Bank accounts in joint names should not be affected at all by the death of one joint owner.
Our probate lawyers are here to assist you
Managing Wills, estates and probate are difficult matters, particularly when families are still grieving the loss of their loved one. For this reason, seeking the help of probate lawyers is a wise choice to ensure the smooth and proper management of all debts and assets. Contact the Wills and estates lawyers at Owen Hodge today, and let us help you through this complex process.