Burgess Thomson Lawyers

Estate Administration Claims

Wills & Estate Planning

advice in newcastle for estate administration claims

The administration of a deceased estate can be a very complex process and can take a long time to finalise. Sometimes Executors, beneficiaries or other interested parties have a disagreement over how an estate should be administered and distributed. A disagreement may relate to how the estate funds have been spent during the administration process. This could relate to the money used to pay legal fees or to prepare a property for sale or funeral expenses. Sometimes Executors or beneficiaries may dispute the amount of money a beneficiary is to receive. This may be because the deceased person gave a beneficiary a gift before he or she died and it is argued that this should be included in their share of the estate. A dispute over the distribution may also arise in circumstances where a beneficiary was appointed to act under a Power of Attorney for the deceased person. Other beneficiaries or Executors may suggest that the Attorney used the deceased person’s funds for their own benefit so should receive a smaller share of the estate.

At Burgess Thomson we can assist you in understanding your obligations and rights as an Executor. We can also assist with ensuring the estate is administered fairly and reasonably to minimise the risk of a co-Executor or beneficiary challenging the administration. We can also assist you in negotiating a distribution that is fair to all and reflects the wishes of the deceased person.


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How can estate administration disputes be resolved?

Many disputes can be resolved through negotiation outside of Court. However, some serious disputes require the Court’ assistance. The Court can review decisions made by Executors and make directions on how they should act. If Executors are found to have acted carelessly or caused loss or damage to the estate, they can be held personally accountable and in serious cases they can be removed as an Executor.

What is an interim distribution?

An interim distribution allows for estate funds to be distributed to beneficiaries before the administration of the estate has been completed. An interim distribution is only permissible in special circumstances. In New South Wales under s 92 of the Probate and Administration Act 1898 (NSW) there are few conditions where a beneficiary may receive their entitlement prior to completion of administrative duties. These are: • An interim distribution may occur where the beneficiary was partially or wholly reliant on the deceased person at the time of death. For example, children. • An interim distribution may occur where the executor, acting in good faith, acts in the proper support, maintenance or education of the survivor.

Do the deceased’s debts need to be paid?

An executor or administrator has a duty to pay any debts the deceased owed, such as unpaid accounts and tax returns before distributing the estate to the beneficiaries. They may need to lodge a final tax return if the deceased received income from employment or owned investments at the time of death.

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