12 Dangerous Stresses of Administering a Deceased Estate in SA

12 Dangerous Stresses of Administering Deceased Estate

Sometimes the Executor of a Deceased Estate gets pressure from family and other beneficiaries to do questionable things in the administration of the Estate

Here are a few of the higher-risk demands frequently directed at nervous Executors by pushy relatives:

1. Obtain a Grant Of Probate As Quickly As Possible

Sometimes relatives and other potential beneficiaries might push an Executor to go faster than they should.  Almost always, those beneficiaries will have their own interests at heart, without necessarily considering your rights, duties and responsibilities as Executor, nor the other interests attaching to a Deceased Estate.  A prudent Executor might do well to remember the adage: Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick 2.

In South Australia, generally Probate cannot be applied for until at least 28 days after death.  In certain circumstances an urgent application can be made faster than this, however special reasons need to be proven.

Death Duties (I told you so)

Death Duties (I told you so)-

Until March 2016, the Court fee for a Grant of Probate in Common Form in South Australia was a flat $1,114.00, regardless of the value of the estate.

This changed from 28th February 2016, but only the very smallest estates saw any reduction in the Court fee. Everyone else is now paying more. And then the State Government increased these fees again just 4 months later!

What is Probate and is it always required in South Australia?

What is Probate and is it always required in South Australia?

What is Probate and is it always required in South Australia?

Probate is the process of a Court establishing that a Will is valid and represents the final testamentary intentions of the Testator. There are time limits for a Will to be submitted to the Probate Court after the date of the death of the Testator.

When someone dies, their estate is represented by an executor or administrator. If the deceased person has made a Will it is the named executor(s) who will be charged with the responsibility of implementing the terms of the Will and administering the estate.

Usually, subject to the value of an estate, an executor(s) is required to obtain what is called a “Grant of Probate” from the Supreme Court of South Australia. The Grant of Probate is a process whereby a deceased’s Will is validated as being his or her last Will. Upon a Grant of Probate being made, an executor then has the responsibility of implementing the terms of the Will by distributing the assets of the estate to the nominated beneficiaries after payment of liabilities and expenses.

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Winston Churchill famously said “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

As the oldest law firm in South Australia, and specialising in Trusts, Wills, Estate Planning and Administration of Deceased Estates, we frequently encounter examples of people failing to take the proper steps to create an estate plan that will work properly when the time comes. Some people allow their families to learn the hard way, and fail to shield their families from costly legal messes.

Probate and Estate Administration: Successful Challenge to Deceased Estate from Secret Domestic Partner

Deceased Estate in SA

A recent court decision in Victoria (Estrella v McDonald) is one of Australia’s first reported judgments resolving a claim for family provision involving a same-sex relationship.

The claimant said that he and the deceased had been in a secret de-facto relationship for 30 years, after they met in 1978 when the claimant was 17 and the deceased was 51.

The claimant said that he and the deceased had commenced a sexual relationship and that he had moved away from his family in the Philippines to live with the deceased’s family for several years. During the deceased’s final years, the claimant was living overseas.

During his life, the deceased had denied that the relationship was sexual in nature as he had apparently been embarrassed to publicly or openly acknowledge the relationship, for fear that it may not be accepted by their families or community.

The deceased had made no provision for the claimant in his Will, which solely benefitted the deceased’s children who defended the claimant’s allegations on the basis that their father and the claimant were “just friends” and that the claimant lived in their home as a boarder.

The Different Types of Probate in South Australia

Many people find probate to be a confusing and intimidating topic. Some deceased estates may not require probate, while others may require a different sort of grant if an executor is not named or a Will cannot be located.

Some brave (or foolhardy) souls attempt a do-it-yourself approach by trying to administer the deceased estate of a loved one themselves. This rarely ends well. You’ll save a lot of time and energy if you seek the counsel of a lawyer with extensive knowledge of probate & deceased estates in Adelaide.

Negative Gearing hot potato or poison pill?

Negative Gearing – hot potato or poison pill?

Negative Gearing hot potato or poison pill?

In Australia over the last 30 years, any spending in pursuit of rental income from an investment property is tax-deductible, unless the spending is of a capital or private/domestic nature. This is known as ‘negative gearing’.

The owner can claim a deduction for the cost of repairing an investment property, but not initial repairs when the property was first purchased.

Some commentators think that negative gearing has distorted the housing market. They point to negative gearing as one of the main factors in housing affordability having halved in real terms over the last 30 years since negative gearing has been in place.

Verification of ID

Verification of ID

Verification of ID

State Governments and authorities around Australia have introduced mandatory Verification of Identity (VOI) policies. These policies help to protect all the parties in a variety of legal and business transactions against fraud.

Mandatory VOI policies are now in place in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. Similar policies are set to be introduced in New South Wales in 2016, with the remaining states and territories likely to follow shortly.
This overlaps with anti-money-laundering legislation, and various banking & finance protocols and policies.

Death and Taxes Ahead in SA

death-and-taxes-ahead-in-sa

Australia is the only western democracy in the world not to have some form of death duty. The USA, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand all have inheritance taxes.

Until the 1970’s each state and territory in Australia had some form of death duty or inheritance tax. But then Joh Bjelke Peterson as premier of Queensland abolished them in that state, and every other state government soon followed suit to remain competitive.

All State and Federal Governments are desperately looking to raise revenue in these difficult economic times, and every recent review of our tax system suggests that some form of inheritance tax will be back on the table.