An Ultimate Guide to Finalizing a Deceased Estate

    deceased estate

    There is no practical way to describe what losing a loved one feels like. The departed soul leaves an inevitable void that nothing can ever fix and when it comes to sorting through their home and possessions, it is a different story altogether. It can be too painful for a while but you have to realize that it is necessary, and it is supposed to be. Dealing with their money and deceased estate in Sydney is essential after they leave for their heavenly abode. You might even need to pay the deceased person’s taxes and debts, and distribute their money to the property entitled to it. Before we plunge into all the details, let us work around the concept first.

    Executor or Administrator

    If your deceased loved one left a valid will, whoever deals with the estate is called the deceased person?s executor. If the person has left an invalid will or no will at all, the person who deals with his estate is called an administrator. For you to be an administrator, you must be appointed by the court before you can deal with the deceased person?s estate.

    Assessing Money, Property and Other Assets

    If the deceased person left an abundant amount of property or money, the administrator or the executor might have to apply for a grant of representation to gain access to the funds. That has to be done by making an application for a grant to the Probate Registry. The matter would then be dealt with by Probate and estate lawyers in Sydney. If the deceased person has left a valid will, the Probate Registry will grant probate of the will. If the deceased person left an invalid will, it will issue a grant of letters of administration.

    In the next segment, we talk about the responsibilities of an executor and how to get through the process with ease.

    Are You the Executor of an Estate?

    If appointed executor of a deceased estate, you must apply to grant Probate. Dealing with the estate of a deceased family member or relative can seem stressful and complex, but the burden of this responsibility can be lessened if you are organized and methodical. As the estate’s representative, here are a few things that can make it easy for you.

    Obtain the Death Certificate

    Once you are an executor, you are responsible for funeral and burial arrangements. You will be expected to pay those costs out of the estate. In addition to all the formalities, the funeral home will ask you how many copies of the death certificate are needed. These copies will be required when dealing with investment firms, life insurers, notifying banks and others. You might need them for filing the deceased person’s final tax returns. So, experts recommend executors of the estate in Australia order twice as many as you think you?ll need.

    Find the Will or Trust

    Even if you are the executor, there are fewer chances of knowing the will or trust documents’ location. You will need a copy of the will for the probate court. The intention should be filed within a few days to a month after death. You might be able to avoid probate court if a trust is set up correctly. The living trust can be kept out of probate court as the trust owns all the property, not the deceased person. So, the faith never dies even after the death of a person.

    Seek Professional Advice

    Once you are thorough with the will and the trust documents, you can have a better idea of how complicated the process of administering the estate can be. This might be the point where you would want to consult with wills and Probate solicitors. You might also need the assistance of appraiser, attorney and tax accountant. An attorney can advise you on the legal steps and help you answer questions from beneficiaries. If the estate has to go through probate, legal services will know the right forms to fill out to make the process smoother. EstatesPlus helps executors of deceased estates apply for Probate online in a quick, hassle-free manner.

    If you hire a tax professional, they are most likely to assist with the final tax returns and any issues involving inherited assets. An appraiser can put a fair market value on antiques and other valuables.

    File Letters Testamentary

    If the real estate has to go through probation, you must apply for Probate in Perth. EstatesPlus can help you get to this point, and even help you file. The probate court will legally confirm your appointment as an executor. These appointment letters are called letters testamentary. The certified documents prove your legal authority to act on behalf of the estate to start paying bills.

    Locate and Protect Assets

    You are one fortunate executor if you can get a list of the assets and their location from the deceased person before death. This includes wills and trusts, the paperwork related to investment accounts, insurance, bank accounts, prearranged funeral plans, vacation homes, artwork, business interests and partnerships. There are high chances of all the paperwork being stashed in a safe place, ready for the executor. Even if the deceased loved one did not stash the paperwork in a safe deposit box, the attorney who prepared the will must typically have a list of assets.  Once you have taken stock of the assets, it is critical to steer clear from all the assets until the probate process is completed.

    Pay Bills and Taxes

    The fact that the estate is in charge of paying the deceased person’s debt should not come as a surprise. All income taxes and estate loans must be paid through the assets as well. If the liabilities exceed the assets, potential inheritors are not entitled to cover them. Before paying off any debts, the executor is responsible for ensuring that the estate’s assets can cover all of them. In other situations, a probate judge is most likely to prioritize the creditors.

    If the deceased person fails to keep detailed accounting of income and debts or monthly bills, as a responsible executor, you will be expected to figure all that out. There is no better place to start than the check book. It is the most likely record of payments and all the deposits made by the deceased person. Comb through regular mail and email to retrieve more information and sift through tax returns.

    Whatever you Do, Do not Rush the Process

    If you, as an executor of the deceased person’s estate, rush and miss some crucial legal steps, you can be personally liable. You will be fortunate if you decide to hire a probate lawyer. They can step in and mediate beneficiary disputes, which can otherwise get nasty. It is better to set up a separate filing system for the estate and keep copies of every document that comes your way. This process is a slow and gradual one. Avoid rushing through it at any cost, and use a service like EstatesPlus to apply for Probate online.

    These are a few tips that can help you become the executor of a will in Australia. All you have to do is act responsibly and by the law.

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