When a loved one passes, families are left to deal with the deceased person’s estate. The Court will enforce this using probate if the deceased person executed a will. If the deceased person did not execute a will, letters of administration may be granted. At Joss Legal, clients often ask if they are able to manage a loved one’s estate.
It is essential to understand the parties to a Will as this affects the estate’s distribution process.
- The testator is the person who has written the Last Will & Testament.
- The beneficiaries are those named in the Will who will receive some distribution from the estate.
- The Executor is the person/people named by the Testator who is given the responsibility to carry out the testator’s wishes.
- Sometimes there may be trustees involved in the Will. The Trustee is the person named by the testator to manage the estate’s assets for the benefit of beneficiaries who will receive the assets at a future date. This occurs when money is held on trust for children who have not reached the specified age, or if a trust is created under the Will.
- A Legal Guardian is a person named by the testator to provide care for minor children if the testator leaves dependent children.
What is Probate?
A Probate grant is an order by the Court providing the Executor with authority to deal with the deceased person’s property. In Western Australia, the Supreme Court deals with matters involving wills and the administration of deceased estates. An executor/administrator of an estate has a number of responsibilities.
To obtain Probate of a Will in WA, an application must be made to the Supreme Court of Western Australia at any time after 14 days from the deceased’s death. At Joss Legal, our experienced lawyers are able to assist with making this application.
Letters of Administration
If a person dies without leaving a will, an application for Letters of Administration must be made. The most appropriate person who is entitled to benefit from the deceased’s persons estate applied for Letters of Administration. This is determined by the Administration Act 1903 (WA). This is usually a close family member, including a spouse, child, the deceased parent or the deceased’s sibling. On other occasions, another extended family member can apply. In rare situations non-family members may be the most appropriate person.
If the deceased person has a Will, but the Will does not name an executor, or the executor named is not able or willing to apply for probate, then the Court may grant Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed to a person who would be beneficiary of the deceased’s estate.
Letters of Administration are complex and can involve a lengthy process. Joss Legal can assist you with a grant of probate or letters of administration. If you require any advice in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact our offices on (08) 6559 7480.
 Administration Act 1903 (WA) s 25 [to get checked].