This process occurs after you pass away and involves the management and distribution of your estate’s assets and liabilities in accordance with the terms of your will. If you do not have a will, then this will occur in accordance with the applicable intestacy legislation.
If you have a valid will, then the executor or executors of your will be responsible for the management and distribution of your estate. The process of managing and collecting assets and liabilities and collateral administrative requirements (such as the closure of bank accounts and disconnection of utilities) can take time, sometimes as long as twelve months for a simple estate. This does not include ongoing responsibilities associated with the administration of any trusts, explained in further detail below.
The duties of the executors can be complex and confusing. This is compounded where the executors are a close family member or friend, who are likely to be emotional following your death, or may even be caught up in potential family disputes or disharmony.
It is important that executors seek legal advice if they are unsure of their legal responsibilities. Paula Sutherland & Associates offers expert and professional assistance to executors, ensuring that they comply with the duties imposed upon them by law. We can also seek professional assistance where required from appropriate experts, such as taxation, financial planning and real estate specialists.
Where your will creates a trust in favour of persons or institutions, a trustee or trustees appointed by your will (typically the executors) will administer the trust in accordance with your wishes. The tasks of a trustee may include administering a trust on behalf of:
- minor children (for their maintenance or education for example) until they reach a nominated age
- A charity to receive the income for charitable purposes
- a family member to benefit from a life tenancy where the beneficiary for life can receive income, and sometimes capital, of a share in the estate for their life.
We can assist trustees with this process by ensuring that they are properly advised in relation to their obligations and how they should administer the trust to conform with the trust objectives and relevant legislation.
Paula Sutherland & Associates offer comprehensive, understandable and transparent advice. An incredibly important part of estate administration is to keep all parties updated with developments during the administration process and ensure they understand both their obligations and rights.