By Cassandra Dargan
If you have been appointed the executor under a person’s will and they have passed away, or you are the next of kin of a deceased person who has died without a will, your prime responsibility as executor or administrator is to call in the assets of the deceased and administer the estate to the beneficiaries.
An executor is a person who has been expressly appointed in a deceased person’s will to administer the estate. Whereas, if a person has died without a will, then a person close to the deceased, usually the next of kin, will assume the role of the administrator and consequently administer the estate.
In Victoria, if the deceased person held assets in Victoria of a high value or property in Victoria in their sole name, then you, as their executor or administrator, will be required to apply to the Supreme Court of Victoria for a Grant of Representation.
The application process includes locating the original will if the deceased executed one, preparing an affidavit and filing an inventory of all the assets and liabilities held in the deceased’s sole name at the time of their death.
The Grant of Representation is a legal document that allows the executor or the administrator to liaise with banks, aged care homes, share registries, insurance companies and other asset holders. It also allows the executor or administrator to sell property and ensure all debts are satisfied.
However, it is important to be aware that in some circumstances, a Grant of Representation will not be required to attend to tasks such as making funeral arrangements and, in some instances, accessing the deceased’s bank account for the sole purpose of paying funeral expenses, however, this will be dependent on the policies of the bank. Further, if the value of a certain asset is under the monetary threshold requirement of the institution holding the asset, then a Grant of Representation may not be required to close and withdraw the balance of the account.
It is prudent to obtain preliminary legal advice before you attempt to apply for a Grant of Representation and administer the estate.
Our estate administration team can guide you through the legal process to obtain a Grant of Representation in the Supreme Court of Victoria. If you would like our assistance, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced estate lawyers on (03) 9853 0311.