When a person dies leaving assets in Victoria, somebody, usually the Executor of the person's will, has to deal with the person's estate.
That generally involves;
- collecting or gathering in all assets of the deceased
- paying any debts, funeral expenses etc
- distributing the estate to the persons entitled to it.
In order to carry out the tasks above a Grant of Representation may be required.
Grants of Representation
A Grant of Representation is a legal document issued under the seal of the Court which enables the person(s) named as Executor(s) or Administrator(s) to deal with the assets of the deceased. It allows money of the deceased held in banks, managed funds etc, to be collected, property to be sold or transferred and debts to be paid. The Grant is proof to anyone wishing to sight it that the person named in the Grant is entitled to collect and distribute the estate of the deceased. There are four types of Grants of Representation issued by the Court.
Probate is the process of officially proving the validity of a will, that is, establishing the validity of the will as the last will of the deceased. A Grant of Probate is issued in cases where the deceased's last will is proved by one or more Executors named in the will.
Letters of Administration with the will annexed
Representation in these cases is ordinarily granted where the deceased has left a valid will but the named Executor cannot or will not apply for a Grant. The Grant is generally made in favour of the person with the greatest proprietary interest under the will. Where there are several persons equally entitled to a Grant the Court will usually make the Grant to the person first applying. In cases where there are competing applications the Court, as a general rule, is disposed to make the Grant to the applicant who is most likely to deal with it to the advantage of the estate and to the benefit of the creditors and beneficiaries.
Letters of Administration
If a person dies without a will or any will made is not valid, the Court issues a Grant of Letters of Administration. In most instances the Grant is made to the next of kin of the deceased. For example, the spouse, domestic partner or a child of the deceased.
Ordinarily each of the above Grants are made in unlimited form i.e.; the Grant extends to the whole of the estate and endures for the whole period of its administration. In appropriate circumstances, however, each of the above Grants may be limited both as to the estate to which it is to extend and the time or purpose for which it is made. An example of a Limited Grant is one made in circumstances where property must be administered pending the outcome of legal proceedings concerning the will or property of the deceased. When the original purpose of the Limited Grant has been fulfilled, an applicant may apply for a cessate or Full Grant in the usual manner.