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Execution of a will and estate administration

A will sets out the will maker’s wishes for when he or she has died. Here’s how you start the process of activating a loved one's Will.

What you need to know and do when it’s time to activate a loved one’s Will

The estate administration process

The process of settling your loved one’s estate can take several months, depending on the complexity of their situation. Here’s what you can expect with Public Trust as the executor:

First Meeting

We’ll meet with you to go through what’s involved in the administration process, understand the assets and liabilities and help you be clear about the deceased person’s wishes, as well as talking about any potential issues. Then we’ll confirm the plan in writing, usually within 10 business days.

Get Court Approval

We will also apply to the High Court for the appropriate documents that give us the legal authority to collect the assets. Probate is typically received six to eight weeks after our first meeting. However, The High Court is experiencing very high demand, so is currently taking longer than usual to process probate applications.

Confirm Assets & Debts

We contact banks, insurers and others to get the full details of what the deceased owns (and owes) and arrange for valuations, inventories, appraisals and insurance as needed.

Collect Assets and Pay Debts

Once the assets and debts have been confirmed, we’ll provide instructions to the relevant organisations to close accounts, sell or transfer property and other assets, pay outstanding debts, and handle the paperwork. 

We must follow the instructions in the Will, but we’ll also keep you informed along the way and seek your views where possible on what you’d like done with particular items.

Distribute the Estate

Once the expenses and debts are covered and any specific gifts distributed, we’ll begin distributing what remains, this is called the residuary estate. In simple cases, we may be able to settle everything at once. Sometimes it can take a while, so depending on the situation, we may make interim distributions and then a final distribution once everything is settled.

Accounting for everything

Once the estate administration is complete, we’ll send you a final statement detailing what’s been done. This includes details of all the assets, any debts paid, all the costs and expenses involved as well as confirming how the estate was distributed.

What does it cost?

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