Probate lawyers

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Dealing with the loss of a loved one is distressing time

Let Step Solicitors help you obtaining probate. If you are an executor, you will probably need the assistance of experienced probate lawyers to help you with all the legal work involved.  At Step Solicitors our probate lawyers can assist in many ways by contacting and notifying banks, building societies, credit unions and insurance companies of the date of death and requesting full details of all accounts, shares and policies for you. We can prepare the application to the Supreme Court for a grant of probate.  This is a Court order that declares the will valid and allows the executor the lawful right to administer the estate. We will ensure that the required probate notifications are published in the local newspaper.

We will prepare all the necessary probate documents including the executor’s affidavit, an inventory of assets and summons for probate. Once the grant of probate has been obtained from the Supreme Court, we will make the necessary arrangements for advertisement in the local newspaper regarding distribution of the estate. If necessary, we will prepare a transmission application or notice of death and lodge it with the Land and Property Information (LPI) along with the title deeds to transfer real property from the deceased’s name.

Once the estate debts have been paid off, we can reimburse the executors for any personal expenses that have been incurred in administering the estate before attending to the final distribution of funds in accordance with the will, including payment of our professional costs out of the estate. A letter will be sent to each of the beneficiaries under the will requesting them to attend our office to receive their distribution cheque or, alternatively, we can deposit the funds directly in a nominated bank account.

Acting as executor in a deceased estate

There are legal processes in place that need to be followed when a person dies.  This allows his or her estate to be distributed and administered in accordance with the deceased person’s wishes and the law. If you are an executor or potential beneficiary of the estate, it is vitally important that you obtain the services of an experienced probate solicitor to assist you.

As an executor or trustee of a deceased estate, you have strict legal obligations that apply to the way you perform that role. You must ensure that the beneficiaries of the estate receive their share of the estate in a lawful and transparent manner. You will most likely need experienced probate lawyers and Step Solicitors can act quickly, effectively and with compassion and give you sound advice on obtaining a grant of probate in a timely and efficient way.

If the deceased person dies with a Will, it is usually necessary to obtain a grant of probate of the will from the Supreme Court so that the executor of the will can deal with the assets and liabilities of the estate.

Preparing for a grant of probate

If a person has a valid Legal Will when they die, the Supreme Court of NSW will generally grant Probate to the person’s executor or executors to manage his or her estate. Step Solicitors can assist with the various steps that are usually sought by those close to the deceased person including:

  • Work with you to accurately determine the assets of the estate;
  • Advise of any potential difficulties arising from the will;
  • Preparing all legal documents required for an application to the court;
  • Gather the assets and transfer them to the executor’s name(s);
  • Identify and pay out any creditors of the estate;
  • Distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries as required by the will;
  • Pursuing claims and receiving compensation on behalf of a deceased person;
  • Ensure that you, as executor are protected from any personal exposure.

Probate explained

Probate is the legal authority granted to the executor by the Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court issues a grant of probate, the executor has the legal authority based on a valid will and he or she may administer the estate according to probate law and distribute assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.

Complexities can arise with all of the above processes. The Probate Lawyer team at Step Solicitors will assist you with any difficulties that arise.

Who is responsible for the costs?

An executor can generally have the legal costs of probate or letters of administration paid from the assets of the estate. Our probate lawyers are available to discuss your circumstances and assist you with managing any costs that apply.

What if a person dies without a valid will?

If a person dies without a valid Will then the person is deemed to have died intestate and an application must be made to the Court for a grant of Letters of Administration. In intestacy matters, there are established laws that determine who will receive the estate and in what proportions. An appropriate person must apply for letters of administration from the Supreme Court, which will allow the assets and liabilities of the estate to be dealt with. In the absence of a valid will, this process can be challenging and we strongly recommend that you obtain advice from our probate lawyers before you embark on the process.

Once Letters of Administration are granted by the Court the person who made the application, known as an administrator, is authorised to administer the deceased’s estate and distribute assets.

It is usually (but not always) necessary to obtain a grant of probate / letters of administration to deal with an estate.

Issues that are relevant to whether or not a grant is necessary include:

  • The type of property owned by the deceased, how it was held, whether it was encumbered;
  • The value of the property;
  • The location of the property;
  • Institutional requirements for a grant then vary markedly between various banks and superannuation funds and other relevant entities;
  • Creditors of the deceased and whether the deceased was entitled to monies in some other way.
  • Our probate specialists understand that dealing with a deceased estate is a particularly difficult and confronting task. At a time of mourning it is the worst possible time to be faced with the complexity of filing a probate application in the Supreme Court. Our probate lawyers will take the weight off your shoulders and allow you to grieve the loss of your loved one.

As an executor you are personally liable for properly doing the job

  • If you have been nominated as the executor in a Will, you have been given responsibility to distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will. You are responsible for ensure the estate assets are protected for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Acting as Executor is a great responsibility and can be overwhelming. You may be personally liable to the beneficiaries or creditors of the estate for any mistakes that you make. For this reason, you should always obtain legal advice from lawyers experienced in probate and deceased estate administration.

Call now to speak to our probate lawyers.

Challenging a Will.

Have you been excluded from or been left with an inadequate provision in a will?

Step Solicitors can assist you challenge a will by making an application for family provision under the Succession Act 2006. You may have a valid claim independent of whether the will is grossly unfair and regardless of whether you were dependent on the deceased at the time of death.

Strict time limits apply to family provision applications so don’t delay; call Step Solicitors today.

What happens if someone dies without having a valid Will?

If a person dies without a valid Will then the person is deemed to have died intestate and an application must be made to the Court for a grant of “Letters of Administration”.

In intestacy matters, there are established laws that determine who will receive the estate and in what proportions. An appropriate person must apply for letters of administration from the Supreme Court, which will allow the assets and liabilities of the estate to be dealt with. In the absence of a Legal Will, this process can be challenging and we strongly recommend that you obtain advice from a probate lawyers before you embark on the process.

Our solicitors have experience with wills, probate and estate litigation and are available to help you assess the key issues and inform you of the various legal options available to you.

Powers of Attorney and Guardianship Appointments

What can you do if you can’t make important decisions for yourself, either on a short or long term basis? You can have us draft you the the above documents which might make things easier for you and your family. However, you need specialist legal advice regarding these types of documents to ensure you are protected. Contact Step Solicitors first.

For advice concerning Wills, estates, powers of attorney and Probate, please contact Step Solicitors on 1300 651 193.