Information for Beneficiaries
When somebody dies and we are named as executor of their Will you can be assured that the estate of the deceased person is in good hands. We are experts in this field and we have a full understanding of the roles and responsibilities of an executor.
We are South Australia’s leading estate administrator. We:
- administer more deceased estates than any other organisation in South Australia.
- offer convenient start to finish estate administration.
- take on full legal liability for the estate.
- are impartial.
- are experts in dealing with financial complexity.
- handle outstanding debts, estate administration costs, and more.
- have the capacity to invest estate funds to maximise returns.
Having an expert and professional executor can make a real difference to your family and friends during a very difficult time.
Although the family will often call us to let us know a customer of ours has died, we also check both newspapers and the Births, Deaths & Marriages records regularly to check if any of our customers have died.
Once we have either been informed or found out that one of our Will customers has died, we will write to the next of kin, or the person who informed us of the death, with details of the next steps that will be taken.
We understand that your first priority is arranging the funeral so that you can say goodbye to your loved one. When you are ready you can call us to talk about their estate.
The first step for us is to talk to you to find out about the assets and liabilities of the estate to determine if formal administration is required.
It is possible that where estate assets are minimal, or the majority of assets are jointly held, that formal administration will not be required, and if this is the case we can provide guidance to you on what to do next.
If administration of the estate is required it is preferable for the beneficiaries to meet with us. We can meet with all beneficiaries at once or individually. If you wish to meet with us shortly after the death of your loved one (e.g. around the time of the funeral so that family members who live in rural areas, interstate, or in another country can be physically present) then please let us know and we can arrange a meeting to suit you and your family.
If it is not convenient to meet with us in person you can send relevant information to us. We can then call you discuss the process and the next steps.
This meeting gives you the chance to find out what is involved in managing the estate. We can talk about how long things might take for your specific situation and give an estimate of the costs that will be involved.
You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have and will be introduced to your Estate Officer who will guide you through the entire process.
To assist with administering the estate as quickly as possible, it would be helpful if you could bring to the meeting, or send to us, as much of the information listed on this checklist as you can find.
We suggest checking filing cabinets, desks, a spare room or office, and any place where paperwork is usually kept, which may include security storage with a bank, to try and locate the information.
Please don’t worry if you can’t find everything, particularly as some of what is on the list will not apply to your situation. Bring what you can find, and we will advise you of what to do about the information you can’t find, and we can even sort through the papers and information for you if you wish.
The time required to administer an estate can vary depending on different circumstances. Straightforward estates are often wound up in less than six months. Others can take more than a year. It depends on the complexity of the Will, the assets in the estate, and whether or not there are any legal claims made against the estate.
Some of the most common causes for delays are:
- beneficiaries who are unable to be located
- the name of a person (e.g. beneficiary or executor) in the Will being incorrectly spelt
- assets are left to a group of people (e.g., “my nieces and nephews”) and the executor does not know how many people are in the group
- key documents cannot be located
- beneficiaries do not agree to the terms of the Will
- beneficiaries can not decide what should happen to certain assets
- difficulty in selling assets (e.g. the deceased person’s house is taking a long time to sell)