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Estate administration and disputes

Cooper Grace Ward’s estate administration and disputes team provides expert advice to clients about all aspects of estate management.

Estate administration refers to cataloguing and managing a deceased’s assets. Then, any debts are paid off and the estate assets are distributed to beneficiaries.

Settling an estate can take anywhere between six months and several years to administer. This time frame depends on the size of the estate, the age of beneficiaries and whether any disputes arise.

Greater complexities are arising in estates due to increases in personal wealth and the different ways clients own their assets. Estate disputes are becoming more common, often resulting from the terms of the Will, the needs of the potential beneficiaries, how assets are owned, or the conduct of the executor and beneficiaries.

The emphasis for executors is on compliance with the high level of duty and responsibility arising from their position. They also need to take care to avoid the risk of personal liability.

For beneficiaries, it can be difficult to determine whether the executor is providing them with the correct information, and whether the estate is being properly administered.

For advice on estate administration and disputes, call (07) 3231 2444.

Or visit our estate planning page to find out more about our services in this area and how we help clients to prevent estate disputes.

Our estate administration team provides expert advice delivered with caring, personal attention in relation to all estate administration matters, including:

  • applications for probate and letters of administration – probate is the Court’s official recognition of a Will. Probate is often needed before the executor of a deceased estate can take control of the estate assets
  • advice about intestate estates (where there is no valid Will or the Will does not deal with all assets)
  • advice to executors on duties and obligations
  • executor’s commission (whether an executor should be paid for their time and trouble administering the estate)
  • advice to beneficiaries about their rights
  • collection and distribution of assets
  • liaising with accountants and other financial advisers
  • advice about structures connected to the estate e.g. trusts, superannuation, insurance and taxation matters
  • superannuation advice
  • capital gains tax and general estate tax advice.

Our team of experienced lawyers provide estate dispute resolution, litigation services and expert advice to solve estate disputes, including:

  • bringing and defending family provision claims (a claim for a larger share of the estate)
  • bringing and defending a Will dispute (lack of capacity, informal Wills)
  • statutory Wills
  • the meaning of the terms of a Will
  • removal of executors
  • disputes involving structures outside of the estate (trusts, companies and self-managed superannuation)
  • superannuation and life insurance disputes and objections
  • enforcing or disputing binding death benefit nominations
  • disputes involving enduring powers of attorney and financial administrators
  • guardianship tribunal work and protected estates.

Key contacts

Scott Hay-Bartlem
Clinton Jackson
Hayley Mitchell
Greg Cahill
Steven Jell
Special Counsel
Sarah Camm


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