In a 2014 Judgment, the Supreme Court of Queensland ruled that the administrator of a deceased estate breached her fiduciary duty by applying for her deceased son’s superannuation benefits to be paid to her personally, rather than on behalf of his estate.
This is an example of where a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Probate and Deceased Estate administration is a specialised area of law. Don’t be fooled into believing the lady at the hairdresser or the bloke down the pub who says that it is easy to do this yourself, or that the lawyer who handled your divorce, or your uncle’s drink-driving offence, can easily do this. If you pay peanuts, you’re very likely to get monkeys.
In the Queensland case the Court had granted the woman Letters of Administration over her son’s estate. The son had died at age 40, without a Will and without a spouse or children. The mother applied to her deceased son’s superannuation funds for any death benefits to be paid to her personally, thus attempting to bypass the estate.
Not surprisingly, the deceased’s father (the woman’s ex-husband) claimed she had a conflict of interest, and was attempting to benefit her own personal position at the expense of the estate, to which he would otherwise have an interest.
When administering a Deceased Estate there are lots of traps for the unwary regarding Probate, intestacy, contested estates, Inheritance Family Provision claims, Protected Estates, dealings with Public Trustee; Guardianship hearings, community treatment orders and financial administration orders.
This is especially the case if the deceased dies without leaving a Will, which is called intestacy. When that happens, the government of the state where you die will determine what will happen to your assets. In the Queensland case, the Court ordered the mother to transfer all of the superannuation death benefits in dispute (approximately $450,000) to the son’s estate, where it would be shared equally with her former spouse under the Queensland rules of intestacy. The legal costs and the stress of the Court process were substantial.
Don’t let this happen to your family. Make sure you have created a modern integrated estate plan to protect yourself, your family and your assets. If you are left with the responsibility of administering the deceased estate of someone else, make sure you get timely advice from a lawyer who specialises in this area of law.
Your Probate and Estate Administration in Adelaide
When you meet with your Adelaide probate and estate lawyer at Genders & Partners, you will obtain the information and peace-of-mind you need about your rights and responsibilities as a trustee. We can also help you determine if and when you should seek professional advice on issues pertaining to taxes or investing. Contact our law office today to set up your Adelaide probate and estate lawyer at Genders & Partners, you will obtain the information and peace-of-mind you need about your rights and responsibilities as a trustee. We can also help you determine if and when you should seek professional advice on issues pertaining to taxes or investing. Contact our law office today to set up your free phone consultation.
FREE REPORT “7 Things You Must Know About Probate and Estate Administration”
In this report you will Learn:
- What is Probate
- Duties of Executors
- Who Should Serve as Executor
- Executor’s Commissions
- Legal Fees and Expenses
- Sale of Real Estate and Other Property
- Challenges to the Will or Estate