TLRbwThis is one of the most common questions asked in relation to deceased estates.

Beneficiaries are, understandably, eager to receive their interest in the estate and executors are eager to finalise their duties.

Despite this often mutual desire to distribute the estate quickly, there are several requirements that must be met prior to any distribution.

Probate must be granted by the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Probate establishes the validity of the deceased Will.  Once probate is granted, the executors are legally entitled to administer the estate pursuant to the terms of the Will.

Prior to distribution, a Notice must be posted on the Supreme Court website alerting creditors and other interested parties that the executors intend to distribute the estate assets.

What happens if an executor distributes the entire estate leaving no money in the estate and a creditor or beneficiary or tax office or other party comes forward claiming that the estate owes money?

If the executor has complied with certain requirements for distribution of the estate, her/she will not face personal liability for any such claims made subsequent to a full distribution of estate assets.

The requirements are that the estate is distributed at least six months after the deceased date of death and the executor has published a 30 day notice of intention to distribute and that time period has expired.

An additional issue which must be considered prior to distribution, involves claims being made against the estate by a relative or dependant who is seeking a share or greater share of the estate.

Claimants have 12 months from the date of the death of the deceased to file a claim and any executor who distributes the estate prior to the expiration of that 12-month period may be held personally liable if he/she has distributed the estate knowing of a potential claim.

The timing of the distribution of deceased assets by the executor, in each case depends on the facts of the case and an assessment of the particular risk of a claim being made against the estate.

If you need assistance with the administration of the estate contact us at Everingham Solomons Solicitors because Helping You is Our Business.

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