How will I know if I need a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration?
If your loved one has passed away leaving an original Will appointing you as executor, then you will be entitled to apply for a "Grant of Probate". If, however, the original will fails to appoint an executor willing and able to assume the role, then you will seek a "Grant of Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed".
Alternatively, if you are unable to locate any Will at all, you will apply for a "Grant of Letters of Administration".
What is involved in letters of administration?
The following steps are involved in obtaining a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration:
1. Notice of Intention to Apply for grant of probate or letters of administration - this is required 14 days before documents can be lodged with the Supreme Court.
2. Preparation of the relevant grant of probate or letters of administration documents required by the Supreme Court.
3. Requisitions (if any) - the Court may request further information pertaining to the Estate before granting probate or letters of administration.
4. Receipt of the grant of probate or letters of administration - which is required to enable the administration of the Estate.
5. Notice of Distribution (if applicable) - This puts relevant parties on notice that the Estate will be distributed within 30 days.
6. Administration of the Estate - whereby all the liabilities of the Estate are paid and the residue distributed in accordance with the terms of the Will.
Do I need a lawyer or can I do it myself?
As executor you will be personally liable for the incorrect distribution of estate assets caused through mistaken interpretation of the Will or failure to identify the correct beneficiaries. You will also be personally liable to pay any unpaid tax assessed against the estate after distribution. With so much responsibility resting on your shoulders, obtaining expert legal advice should be your first decision.
Speak with your probate lawyer
Appointment times available to suit any schedule
Obtaining legal advice early will often be more cost effective for an estate than engaging a lawyer later to fix the errors made because advice was never sought.