Administration of Deceased Estates – Adelaide
Wills & Estate Planning
In the event of someone’s death the often-complex and stressful process of administering the deceased person’s estate can be an onerous responsibility. Scammell & Co are one of South Australia’s leading and trusted estate administrators. As such, we have a full understanding of the roles and responsibilities of an executor. We provide a professional and independent approach to all deceased estate matters to ensure the estate administration process goes smoothly and efficiently.
Scammell & Co provides the following services:
- convenient start to finish estate administration;
- locate the Will;
- liaise with estate beneficiaries;
- apply for a certified copy of the Death Certificate;
- apply for the grant of probate or a grant of letters of administration;
- locate, identify and protect estate property (assets) belonging to the testator;
- death registration for any real estate;
- notify relevant authorities such as Centrelink, Medicare, local council and insurance companies;
- organise insurance cover for any assets;
- close bank accounts;
- sell or transfer the deceased’s property (assets);
- look after the assets or investments of minors or anyone with a legal disability;
- provide advice relating to complex financial matters;
- handle outstanding debts, funeral expenses and testamentary (legal) expenses;
- handle any statutory obligations (such as taxation);
- invest estate funds to maximise returns;
- represent the estate in any litigation; and
- distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will.
Getting estate administration underway
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 formal 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 to discuss the process and the next steps.
This initial meeting gives you the chance to find out what is involved in managing the estate. It is at this stage you will have the opportunity to ask any questions. We can also provide an estimate of how long the process might take based on your specific situation and give an estimate of the costs involved.
How long does the estate administration process take?
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 nature of 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 are unable to be located
- the name of a person (e.g. beneficiary or executor) in the Will has been incorrectly spelt
- assets are left to a group of people (e.g., “my nieces and nephews”) rather than named individuals which requires verification
- key documents cannot be located
- beneficiaries do not agree to the terms of the Will
- beneficiaries cannot 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)
Beware Trustee Company Commissions
Most estate companies charge a commission for their services including the Public Trustee. This means they charge a percentage of the estate as a commission to administer it. Generally, this amounts to thousands of dollars more than what a lawyer would charge to perform the same service.
For your convenience Scammell & Co offers several options to get your Deceased Estate Administration needs underway. Initial consultations and follow-up appointments are available via:
- Phone and video conferencing; and
- In-office at one of our 6 locations across Adelaide and South Australia
Scammell & Co. have 6 offices located throughout South Australia including Adelaide CBD, Port Adelaide, Walkerville, Gawler, Tanunda and Renmark. Call or email us today to speak with our Wills & Estates team about your needs, or to book an appointment at an office convenient to you.