At Burns & Tinney, we strive to make the process of dealing with a deceased estate as easy and stress-free as possible and to distribute the estate as quickly as possible. We guide you through the process and explain things clearly and in plain English.
Fixed Price Probate
In most cases, we offer a FIXED PRICE SERVICE for obtaining probate and distributing a deceased estate. We are happy to have an initial telephone consultation free of charge to discuss your matter and give you an estimate of costs.
We have many years of experience assisting people with simple and complex deceased estates including:
- Grants of Probate
- Letters of Administration where there is no Will
- Letters of Administration with the Will annexed where there is a Will but the appointed executor is unable or unwilling to act
- Administration and distribution of deceased estates
- Resealing of interstate and overseas grants of probate in Victoria, and
- Handling contested Wills and Estates disputes.
What is probate?
When a person dies leaving a Will, a Grant of Probate must usually be obtained from the Registrar of Probates in the Supreme Court. A grant of probate is a court order confirming that the Will is the deceased’s last valid Will in existence.
If a person dies without a Will, the estate will be distributed according to a formula set out in legislation. An application for letters of administration must usually be made to the Registrar of Probates in the Supreme Court. This application is usually made by the person who has the greatest claim to the estate, who becomes the administrator of the estate once an order has been made.
If all of a couple's assets are in joint names, a grant of probate may not be necessary if one of them dies. There are other circumstances where a grant of probate may not be necessary, for example, if the only asset is a small bank account.
A Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration enables the executor or administrator to collect and deal with the assets of the estate, including selling or transferring any real estate of the deceased, access to bank accounts and investments of the deceased and the collection, administration and distribution of the deceased’s other assets.
If you are an executor, we can help
While it is an honour to be appointed, acting as executor or administrator can be a significant burden. It is often a lengthy process and requires a knowledge of financial, legal and tax matters. It can be an emotional and challenging time for all involved. If your duties are not carried out properly, you may be exposed to personal liability.
As experience probate lawyers, we can assist you in professionally managing the estate and carrying out your duties, including:
- Obtaining the Will and any title deeds where they are held by other lawyers
- Obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
- Dealing with all aspects of the administration of the estate
- Dealing with all estate debts and liabilities
- Defending any claims against the estate
- Arranging for tax returns and payment of any tax liability
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will as quickly as possible and providing the beneficiaries and you with a detailed written account.
When can a Will be contested?
A Will may be open to challenge if the deceased was incapable of making a Will, the meaning of the Will is unclear, the Will was incorrectly executed or was tampered with or the Will was executed under pressure from others.
A Will can also be challenged if insufficient provision has been made in the Will for a spouse, children or other people the deceased had an obligation to provide for, as set out in the laws relating to Testator’s Family Maintenance. Except in very limited circumstances, Testator’s Family Maintenance applications must be made within six months of the grant of probate.
Legal advice should always be sought from experienced probate lawyers such as Burns & Tinney if a challenge to the Will is made or anticipated.
So, let us help you by:
- Interpreting the Will of the deceased in terms of estate laws
- Advising executors and trustees in regard to their duties and rights
- Informing government bodies including Centrelink and Veterans Affairs
- Applying for Probate of the Will in the Supreme Court
- Dealing with intestacy (where there is no Will)
- Applying for Letters of Administration (if the Will is deemed invalid or is absent)
- Identifying estate assets and liabilities
- Obtaining valuations of estate property
- Collecting estate financial assets including superannuation, bank funds, shares, outstanding loans, and insurance payouts
- Selling or transferring estate property including estate auctions
- Paying estate debts including mortgages, funeral costs, and testamentary expenses
- Advising in regard to family and testamentary trusts
- Administering trust funds
- Distributing bequests and inheritances to beneficiaries
- Organising information for estate tax returns
- Family mediation and negotiation
- Contesting wills and defending estate litigation in the Supreme Court
Contact us to find out more or to arrange an appointment with an experienced probate lawyer in Greensborough.