Essentially, decedent refers to the legal terms for a person who has recently died and left properties, assets, and even properties behind them. In some instances, the decedent may have left a valid will and named an executor who will be in charge of the estate’s administration, while in some cases, there’s none.

If you’re an heir or a co-beneficiary to the estate of a decedent and perhaps, you have been appointed as the administrator, you may need to know a few things so you can do your job properly.

To start, as the property administrator, here are some of the duties you have to do to manage the properties and assets which form part of an estate.

Determine Beneficiaries And Find Them

If there’s a will present, the task of determining the beneficiaries can be easy and simplified since it’s noted already in the legal document. However, if the deceased didn’t leave any will, the co-beneficiaries are determined by law through the rules on intestacy. Although, it’d be good to note that there may be slight differences between the rules of intestacy observed from one Australian state and territory to another.

Once you have determined the other co-beneficiaries, your next task would be to find and inform them about the death of the person to whom they are entitled to inherit the properties. You may also have to reach out to advise them that you’re going to be the administrator of the estate. You might want to meet with them to explain how you intend to go with the application for Letters of Administration so you can set their expectations accordingly.

Find Out Which Court Has Jurisdiction

Your next task would be to apply for the grant of letters of administration with the state Supreme Court. Note that you may need to apply with the court which has jurisdiction over the state where the property of the decedent is located, including all or most of its assets. If the estate includes properties located in more than one state or country, you may have to work out letters of administration for each of the other states where the decedent has property.

Make An Inventory Of Assets

As the estate administrator, you’d have to list down all the properties and assets owned by the decedent. To guide you, here are some points that you may follow:

Find out all the properties and personal assets owned by the decedent at the time of death. This includes all raw lands, houses, residences, buildings, businesses, monies in the bank, shares of stock in companies, insurance policies.

Inform the co-beneficiaries of what the estate is composed of. You may give them an overview of all the real and personal properties owned by the decedent. You may also have to inform them of any debts the decedent may have left behind before he or she died.

You may then need to prepare the application for Letters of Administration. In addition, you might want to consider seeking the help of a solicitor when you’ve reached this point.

You may have to lodge a final tax return for the decedent’s properties.

Prepare Valuation Statement

Once you have sorted out the inventory list of all the real properties and personal assets of the decedent, you can go over each item on the list and give an estimate of how much it’s worth in Australian dollars. You may have to provide some form of proof of asset valuation why you wrote down that value for the specific property or asset.

For real properties, this could be from appraisal reports from banks or real property appraisal agents who would certify the value of the property. For shares of stocks, you may have to ask the bourse where the company is registered for public trading about the price of the shares on the date, and if possible including the time when the deceased passed away. For bank accounts, you can ask for certifications and statements from corresponding banks where the deceased owned bank accounts.

After assigning estimated values to each item on the inventory list, sum up everything in a Valuation Statement, and you can show this to the co-beneficiaries.

Final Words

If you have been appointed to look after the estate of a person who recently died, you can expect that you will have a lot of work in your hands. For instance, you’d have to do a lot of things first before you can lodge the letter of administration with the proper court.

With that said, the above list can be a good starting point. But note that you can always seek professional help and consult professionals for further assistance.