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Deceased Estate Administration FAQs

Does the Public Trustee automatically sell all the assets in a deceased estate?

No. There is extensive consultation with the beneficiaries before any asset is sold. In fact, most estate's assets - including the family home - are not sold but are transferred directly to the beneficiaries. In cases where the beneficiaries request that any real estate be sold, a valuation is obtained and there is ample opportunity to set the reserve price and negotiate acceptable offers.

What happens when a person dies without a Will?

According to Western Australian law, if you don’t have a legal Will you have died "intestate" and your estate will be divided according to the rules of intestacy. This means that even if a friend or relative is appointed as the administrator of your estate, the law decides who your beneficiaries are and how your estate is divided. The person looking after and dividing your deceased estate is called an administrator rather than an executor in cases where a person dies intestate. 

Who can administer an intestate estate?

Someone, usually one or some of the beneficiaries of the estate, must apply to be the administrator of an intestate estate. If all the beneficiaries are agreeable, they can apply to the Public Trustee to take on the administration.

What is the difference between a "grant of Probate" and "Letters of Administration"?

A grant of Probate is what is obtained when the executor named in the Will makes the application to prove and register a Will and obtains formal authority to administer it. Letters of Administration (with the Will annexed) is a similar document, but is the document obtained when someone other than an executor named in the Will makes the application. Letters of Administration is also what is obtained in the case of an intestate estate (an estate for which there is no Will).

Can family members approach the Public Trustee to administer an intestate estate?

Yes, but all entitled next of kin must consent. Contact us on 1300 746 116 for detailed requirements, brochure and schedule of fees.

How can I pay for my deceased mother's/father's funeral?

Contact the bank, building society or credit union and they can pay the funeral out of the deceased's account.

I am an executor of an estate and have completed the administration duties except for funds held for minor beneficiaries. Can the Public Trustee take over from me and hold the funds until the minors are entitled to get them?

Yes. The Public Trustee can act as substitute trustee.

The executor of my mother's Will is not doing the right thing. What can I do about it?

Contact a solicitor. An executor can only be removed by an order of the court.

Last updated: 1-Mar-2016

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