Estate Legal - Sydney Probate and Estate Lawyers
Professional, Cost Effective, Efficient
Estate Legal can help you obtain probate or letters of administration for estates that have assets in New South Wales. We can also help with the administration of those estates.
We are a law firm that focuses on estates and their administration. Our aim is to keep things as simple and as efficient as possible. This enables us to provide you with a cost-effective and professional service.
We know that obtaining probate or letters of administration can be challenging and time consuming, especially if you have not been an executor before or the estate is large. We can make things easier for you and provide peace of mind by guiding you through the whole process and offering transparent, fixed-fee pricing.
Our main services are as follows:
Obtaining Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration
Executors for estates with substantial assets will either need to obtain probate or letters of administration. We can tell you whether the estate you are looking after will need probate or letters of administration, and then guide you through the process.
Administration of Estates
Once we have helped you obtain probate or letters of administration, we can also help you administer the estate if you do not wish to do so yourself.
We offer fixed fees
We can offer fixed fees for most applications for probate or letters of administration. This means you know from the start how much it will cost.
Some estates can have problems or unusual aspects to them, and so there are a minority of times where we cannot offer fixed fees. For such estates, once you tell us a little bit more about them, we can tell you up front how we will charge and you can decide whether you wish to proceed.
We will let you know what information we need from you to start the probate process. Once you have provided us with that information, we will confirm our costs and one of our lawyers will discuss the next steps with you. To make things easier for you, we can do most things by phone or email, but we will need to meet with you at least once during the process.
Death and estates - Seven things to do after a loved one passes away
It is a very difficult time when a loved one passes away. Often the last thing you want to do is deal with the legal and property issues that arise. In our experience, it is best just to take one step at a time and not be afraid to ask for help. There are some things though that do need to be addressed.
1. Obtain the Death Certificate
If you are the person responsible for the loved one’s estate, you will need to obtain the death certificate. This will be provided by the funeral director two to three weeks after the funeral. Although there will be only one original certificate, you are likely to need multiple certified copies so do not be afraid to ask the funeral director for certified copies. The death certificate is formal proof that your loved one has passed away. It will be needed when dealing with banks and other financial institutions, superannuation and life insurance policies and share registries. It will also be needed if there is a need to apply for probate or letters of administration of your loved one’s estate.
2. Obtain probate or letters of administration
It may be necessary to obtain probate or letters of administration. Probate or letters of administration are formal documents sealed by a Court showing that you as executor or administrator have authority to deal with your loved one’s estate. If your loved one only had a few assets, probate or letters of administration may not be needed. It will depend on the value of the assets and which bank, share registry or other organisation you may need to deal with. If your loved one has an interest in real estate in New South Wales (other than as joint tenant) you will definitely need to obtain probate or letters of administration. You don’t need to use a lawyer to obtain probate or letters of administration, but using a lawyer will often save time and anxiety. Once probate or letters of administration is obtained, assets will need to be transferred to beneficiaries or realised and the cash distributed to beneficiaries.
3. Collect important documents and information
There will usually be several important documents that you will need to locate and secure upon the death of a loved one. These include:
- Any will, including any codicils to it
- The death certificate (when provided by the funeral director)
- Bank account and credit/debit card details and statements (if any)
- Title deeds
- Share certificates/statements
- Recent tax returns
- Superannuation policies
- Statements relating to pensions
- Life insurance policies
- Any other documents evidencing ownership of property (e.g. car registration papers These documents will help you determine whether you need to obtain probate or letters of administration, what assets need to be transferred, sold or liquidated, and who you need to notify of your loved one’s death.
4. Centrelink, pension providers, banks, share registries etc.
Certain organisations will need to be notified of your loved one’s passing:
The key ones are:
- Centrelink, financial institutions or superannuation trustees that may have been paying
your loved one a pension. Unless notified, pensions will usually continue to be paid into
a bank account of your loved one, and these amounts will most likely need to be repaid.
Other organisations to be informed include:
- Share registries
- Local councils or body corporates
- Utility companies
You do not need to let these institutions know immediately, but they will in time need to be informed. Banks and share registries are usually informed as part of the process of obtaining probate and letters of administration.
5. Cancel subscriptions and memberships
It may initially be difficult to identify all the subscriptions and memberships held by a loved one, although in due course you should be able to identify them, if only through communications sent by the relevant organisation to which loved one subscribed or was a member.
6. Pay outstanding bills
Once you have identified your loved one’s creditors and outstanding bills, you should pay them out with funds from their estate. This may take time if you need to obtain probate or letters of administration before you can access your loved one’s funds. Creditors just have to be patient and wait in such circumstances.
7. Close all on-line and social media accounts
This is not always easy to do, as you may find it difficult to find passwords or even know that some accounts exist. You may need to contact such companies as Facebook or Google directly to close such