Time is of the Essence, Urgency in Estate Administration

The executor of a will or the administrator of a deceased estate has an important task to administer the estate of the deceased. This difficult task is often in addition to processing the grief of losing someone close to them. 

Engaging a solicitor to assist with a Court application for Probate or Letters of Administration can help in relieving a lot of the paperwork and mental load to allow a person to process the personal toll. While this can help make the process easier, unfortunately it is not always the case that this can also make the process quicker. 

Why Is Timing Important? 

In addition to helping with the grieving process, sometimes it may be important to an executor or administrator to obtain a grant as soon as possible to help maintain or deal with the assets of the estate. 

Common examples of these needs include the continued running of a business previously run by the deceased, or where the deceased had entered into a contract to sell property before they passed away. 

Delays in obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration can grind a business to a halt or trigger negative consequences in a sale contract. 

Why Can It Take So Long

As part of a common application for a Grant of Probate of the Will of a deceased person, or Letters of Administration of an estate, there are several timeframes to be mindful of. 

Some of these are legal timeframes, including the need to publish a Notice of Intention to Apply for Probate or Letters of Administration 14 days before the application is filed. 

Other timeframes are more practical. Once an application is filed, a non-complex application for Probate or Letters of Administration has a current assessment turnaround with the Supreme Court of at least 2 months. 

Other delays in preparing an application include obtaining details of the assets and liabilities of the estate, receipt of the Death Certificate, or conducting searches for any potential will held by other organisations for a grant of letters of administration if no will was made. 

What are my Options to Speed up the Process?

Seeking Expedition 

Depending on the timeframe needed and the circumstances, a request may be made to the Supreme Court to expedite the processing of an application. For example, where the deceased sold a piece of real estate prior to their death that is due to settle soon. 

Requests for expedition by executors/administrators who sell real estate after the death of the owner, without having first obtained a grant, will not be entertained by the Court.

Seeking a Limited Grant of Administration ad colligenda

An administrator may be appointed to protect the estate or particular assets, including carrying on a business, completing the sale of real estate, or being appointed director of the deceased’s company. Genuine urgency and the likelihood of a delay in obtaining a full grant must be proven. The grant of administration is limited as to time, property and how that property can be dealt with and does not allow distribution. 

Obtaining sound advice can attempt to minimise the need for urgent applications. This may include advice on corporate Power of Attorney documentation to assist in running a business, or contract review to provide special conditions that sensibly deal with the unexpected. 

For advice on administration of an estate or your own estate planning, contact Baker Love Lawyers. 

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