Burgess Thomson Lawyers

Estates Administration & Distribution

Wills & Estate Planning

Administration & distribution of an estate

 Once a Grant of Probate has been given, the Executor or Administrator is responsible for collecting the deceased person’s assets and making payment of debts owed by the deceased. This may involve contacting financial institutions and other companies to find out what assets the deceased person owned. After debts are paid, the remaining assets are then distributed according to the terms of the Will. Assets may need to be sold so the proceeds can be divided between the beneficiaries. The Executor or Administrator will also need to publish a notice which gives any one with a claim against the estate one month to provide particulars of the claim. This is called a Notice of Intended Distribution.

At Burgess Thomson we understand that this can be a stressful and daunting process. We can assist by contacting financial institutions and companies on your behalf. We can also arrange for estate money to be held in a trust account on your behalf. We can also assist in using this trust account to pay any debts or fees of the estate. We can also assist in the sale of property owned by the deceased person.


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How are the assets distributed?

An Executor or Administrator must prepare a statement of account and a distribution report which shows what the assets were, how much money resulted from any sale of assets and the expenses and debts paid from the proceeds. These must be given to the beneficiaries when they receive their share of the estate. A gift of money must be distributed to beneficiary within 12 months otherwise the beneficiary can claim interest.

What is a Transmission Application?

A Transmission Application is an application for the transfer of title to land owned by a deceased person into the name of an Executor or Administrator or a beneficiary. An Executor will need to lodge a Transmission Application to have the property transferred into his or her name in order to sell the property. A beneficiary will need to lodge a Transmission Application if the deceased person has left the property to the beneficiary in the Will.

Can I be paid for being an Executor?

An Executor or Administrator is entitled to claim commission from the estate for their time and effort in administrating and distributing the estate. An Executor or Administrator may reach an agreement with the beneficiaries or apply to the Supreme Court for commission to be paid out of the estate. An Executor cannot claim commission if they are also named as a beneficiary in the Will unless the Will provides that the Executor may claim commission in addition to their share as a beneficiary.

What if there was no Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration?

If a Grant of Probate of Letters of Administration were not required in your circumstances, then you will be able to distribute the estate after the debts have been paid. This must be done in accordance with the Will or if there was no Will, in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

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