What to do when someone dies without leaving a Will

A person has died intestate if they die without leaving a Will.  An Intestacy may also arise where a person dies without leaving an effective Will.  For example, where their Will does not include an Executor or fails to appropriately deal with their estate.

In either case, an Application for a Grant of Letters of Administration will be required to appoint someone as the Administrator of the deceased’s estate.  The Administrator is responsible for arranging the funeral, deciding if the deceased will be buried or cremated and administering their estate for distribution in accordance with the law.

In Victoria, the law provides a hierarchy of persons who may apply for the Grant of Letters of Administration of an intestate.  Put simply, this role would ordinarily fall to the surviving spouse, then adult child or children, then parents and then siblings.  It is important that legal advice is obtained to ensure that the appropriate person or persons make the Application for the Grant of Letters of Administration.

The administration of an estate can be a daunting and emotional experience, particularly when someone has passed away without leaving instructions for you to follow.  If you are an Administrator, it is best to seek legal advice and assistance to ensure you are complying with your obligations as the Administrator of the deceased’s estate.  There are also specific restrictions on your dealings with the deceased person’s superannuation and, as such, it is recommended that expert advice is sought prior to an Application for a Grant of Letters of Administration being made.

Our team of expert lawyers can step you through the process of administering an estate, from identifying the appropriate person to make the Application, identifying all of the deceased’s assets, collecting in and appropriately dealing with those assets and then distributing those assets in accordance with the law.  Ultimately, our lawyers will ensure that, as an Administrator, you comply with all the legal requirement of this role.

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