If you are named in the Will of a deceased person as an executor of their estate, and you accept the role, it is usually necessary for you to make an application to the Supreme Court of New South Wales for a grant of probate. This is a formal process which involves asking the Court for permission to do as the Will says. When probate is ‘granted’, the estate of the deceased person must then be ‘administered’. That is, the Will is given effect.
This process places a very serious obligation upon an executor (particularly where the estate is complex). An executor can be held personally liable for their actions if things go wrong. It is very important that you get the right advice, from the start.
If the deceased does not leave a Will, an eligible person may apply to the Supreme Court for a grant of ‘letters of administration’ in order to deal with the estate of a deceased person. When the grant is made, this person is called the ‘administrator’ of the estate. Again, the obligations placed upon the administrator are significant. It is important that you get the right advice, from the beginning.
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Articles on Probate & Administration