Once Probate has been Granted and before you can do anything with the assets, you need to have published a Notice of Intended Distribution. This Notice of Intended Distribution will advise creditors and other potential beneficiaries that you intend on distributing the assets in accordance with the Will and it will provide a time period, usually 30 days’ notice, during which time these creditors and potential beneficiaries can approach you in relation to the distribution. Once this time period has passed, and provided the deceased has already been deceased for a period of 6 months, you can then distribute the assets according to the terms of the Will.
How you distribute the assets and carry out the other necessary tasks will depend on the terms of the Will and any trusts contained in same; the age and working status of the deceased; and the assets and liabilities of the deceased. For instance, has the deceased left a specific gift to someone? Has their superannuation formed part of the estate? Was there real estate included in the assets and if so, how was it owned? Was there a car and was it left to a specific person or is it to be sold? How is real estate to be gifted? For instance, is it left to a specific person or is it to be sold? Was the deceased still working? Is there a tax return to be filed? What about land tax? Real estate agency fees? Is there a trust to be set up to care for minor children? This is just the tip of the iceberg in the relation to the questions that you need to be asking yourself.
It is also extremely important that as Executor you keep records of account. You should open a bank account in the name of the deceased. This account will be known as The Account of the Late John Smith. To this account you should transfer all realisable assets i.e. assets that have been sold and cash that has been collected and from this account you can make distributions to beneficiaries, pay creditors and retain the statements, showing a record of account. The Supreme Court can request at any time that you file the statement of account and as such it is important to keep these records.
Collecting and distributing the assets of the deceased and complying with the terms of the Will is not a simple task. Our Probate solicitors can assist you in complying with your obligations and simplify what can be a time consuming and daunting task. There are also specific rules as to who is responsible for the upkeep of mortgage repayments and who is entitled to interest earned, which our Probate lawyers can guide you through.