Administering a deceased estate is the legal process that takes place when someone dies.

What is an estate?

When a person dies, everything they own forms their estate.

This can include:

  • real estate
  • house contents
  • money in bank accounts
  • investments
  • shares
  • motor vehicles
  • jewellery
  • their other possessions.

Assets that are jointly owned are not part of the estate and will pass to the other owner.

Superannuation usually passes to the named nominee or spouse and does not form part of the estate.

Process of administering an estate

Administering an estate involves finalising everything relating to the assets of the deceased person’s estate.

This includes managing all the financial and legal issues, closing bank accounts, making sure all debts are paid and assets accounted for.

It also means being responsible for making sure the beneficiaries named in the Will receive their inheritance.

Who administers a deceased estate?

If there is a valid Will, the person named as executor in the Will is responsible for administering the estate.

Sometimes that might be the Public Trustee.

If there is no Will, this can take more time as there are some other issues to deal with and a more complex process.