Buller McLeod as Victorian Probate Lawyers understand that dealing with a deceased estate is one of the more difficult challenges in life. From mountains of paper work to legal jargon and simmering family disputes, they’re the last things you want to deal with when you’re grieving over the loss of someone important in your life.
Our lawyers have over 30 years experience in Probate and Deceased Estate matters practicing as Victorian Probate Lawyers.
There are two separate stages in dealing with the assets of a deceased estate.
Stage 1 – Applying for a Grant of Representation (Probate of Letters of Administration)
The first stage is for the Executor or intended Administrator to obtain legal authority over the Estate, in order to be able to deal with the assets of the estate. To do this it is necessary to apply to the Supreme Court of Victoria for a Grant of Representation. If the deceased left a Will this Grant is Called a Grant of Probate. If there is no Will then it is called a Grant of Letters of Administration.
Stage 2 – Administration of the Estate
The second stage, once the Grant of Representation has been obtained, concerns the administration of the estate and involves the “calling in” the assets of the estate, holding them on trust for the beneficiaries of the estate pending distribution and, if necessary, investing any money pending a distribution, and finally effecting a distribution of the estate among the beneficiaries in accordance with the deceased’s wishes as set out in their Will or, if they did not have a Will, the Rules of Intestacy. These second stage services may include:
- Interpreting the Will of the deceased in terms of the law & advising accordingly
- Advising executors and trustees in regard to their duties and rights
- Informing government bodies including Centrelink and Veterans Affairs
- Identifying estate assets and liabilities
- Obtaining valuations of estate property
- Completing and submitting all documents and forms required to collect estate financial assets including superannuation, bank funds, shares, outstanding loans, and insurance payouts
- Selling or transferring estate property including estate auctions
- applying to the Registrar of Titles to have any Certificates of title of real estate in the name of the deceased put into the names of the Legal Personal Representatives of the deceased estate or in the name of the surviving joint proprietor
- Paying estate debts including mortgages, funeral costs, and testamentary expenses
- Advising in regard to family and testamentary trusts
- Administering trust funds, including investing estate trust funds pending distribution to the beneficiaries
- Distributing bequests and inheritances to beneficiaries
- Organizing information for estate tax returns
Our Stage 1 Fixed Fee Probate Service
Sometimes Executor clients do not require us to be involved in the second stage of administering the estate, and they attend to the administration of the estate without our involvement. In these cases, where the Will is uncontested, we can offer our Stage 1 Fixed Price Probate Service in which we attend to the first stage by preparing and filing with the Court all the legal documents needed to apply for a Grant of Probate of the Will. No services involved in the second stage as described above are included in this offer. It is up to the Executors themselves, once we have provided them with the Grant of Probate, to attend to the “calling in”, administration & distribution of estate assets.
Our Stage 1 Fixed Price Probate Service locks in the lawyer’s fees for obtaining a Grant of Probate for the sum of $990.00 including GST for all legal work required to obtain a Grant. There are also separate out of pocket expenses payable such as the cost of advertising the Executor’s intention to apply for a Grant, the Court’s filing fee and our lodging agents fee. The Supreme Court of Victoria charges a fee for filing an application for a Grant of Representation. The amount of the Court’s fee depends on the gross value of the assets of the estate; we can advise you how much the Court fee will be once we know the total value of all the assets in the estate.
Of course, if a client decides that the work involved in the second stage is too much for them to deal with, we are happy to also provide these extra services, however we cannot offer a “one size fits all fixed fee” for these second stage services as it can vary greatly depending on the size of the estate, and the number and type of assets. We can however provide our customised estimate of these administration costs for an estate, if requested by a client.
Please note that as each State has different laws governing applications for Probate we can only offer this service where a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is required in Victoria. If you would like to know more about our Stage 1 Fixed Price Probate Service please contact Peter McLeod on (03) 9306 4000 or send us an email.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange an appointment with one of our Victorian Probate Lawyers.