We understand that the passing of a loved one is an incredibly difficult time, especially when talk of “probate” and “lawyers” comes into the mix.
For many, the legal process that follows the loss of a loved one can be very daunting and overwhelming.
At Adelta Legal, we strive to make the legal aspect of this grieving process as simple as possible for you and are happy to guide you every step of the way and lend you a helping hand.
What is Estate Administration?
When a person dies with assets in their sole name, these assets will comprise their ‘estate’.
If a person has a will, then their estate is administered by the executor(s) nominated in the will.
If there is no will, the person who administers the estate is called the administrator, and that person is determined, according to the legislation which also specifies who is to inherit the estate.
The role of an executor/administrator encompasses:
- in some cases, applying to the Court for a grant of probate (where there is a will) or a grant of letters of administration (where there is no will);
- taking control of and/or collecting the deceased’s assets;
- paying all debts owing by the deceased; and
- distributing the balance of the assets to the beneficiaries.
For more information on the role and duties of an executor or an administrator, please click here
Do I need a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration?
What is required to administer an estate will depend on the assets within the estate and the value of those assets.
Some estates can be administered fairly simply, and may only require minor legal assistance, whereas some may require detailed tailored advice.
Some circumstances where the estate administration may be relatively straightforward include:
- if the value of the assets are low; and/or
- if the deceased held their assets jointly – which in this case, the assets will pass automatically to the surviving joint owner (which is known as the right of survivorship).
On the other hand, circumstances where the estate administration may be more involved and will most likely require a grant of probate or letters of administration include:
- if the deceased owed real estate in their sole name or as tenant in common (meaning they owned a defined share);
- if the deceased owned shares with a value exceeding $15,000 or shares on CHESS;
- if the deceased had superannuation and did not have a ‘dependant’ as defined under the superannuation laws;
- if the deceased had a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (or bond) with a nursing home; or
- if the deceased had funds in accounts with a financial institution exceeding $50,000 (some credit unions have lower limits).
Click here for more detailed information on Grants of Probate and Grant of Letters of Administration
Why choose Adelta Legal to assist you?
Adelta Legal provides a flexible and efficient service to assist the executor or administrator in undertaking their legal obligations throughout the estate administration process.
Our approach is to make this process less stressful for you, and to assist you with either a full complete service or just in connection with an application for probate or letters of administration. We work with executors to whatever degree is required to complete the estate administration in a timely and cost effective manner.
We can also assist executors and administrators that reside interstate or overseas where there are estate assets in South Australia, as often a grant of probate or letters of administration are required in this State.
We have offices in the city, at Tea Tree Gully and Morphett Vale for the convenience of clients. In addition, for the elderly or infirm, visits can be made to clients at home or in hospital.
Call us on 08 8415 5000 or send an email to make an appointment.
Alison was first admitted to legal practice in England before migrating to Adelaide in 1988.
After working in UK and in one of Adelaide’s larger firms, Alison commenced her very own legal practice in 1993 until she merged her practice with, and become a partner of, Adelta Legal in March 2011. She is known for providing a high level of service to clients in all commercial and estate planning and administration fields of practice.
She has acted for international businesses with interests in Australia and advised in connection with the administration of deceased estates in England.
Alison has been recognised in Doyle’s Guide for several years as one of Adelaide’s leading lawyers in the field of estate planning.
Over the last 35 years Alison has particularly specialised in:
- estate planning and wills
- deceased estate administration
- advice to small business
- commercial transactions
- property and conveyancing matters,
and is able to assist a range of clients in giving practical, friendly and cost effective advice.
Outside the law Alison is the Chair of a Board of a not-for-profit registered training organisation and until recently has been on the Board of a private retirement village. She was one of the founding members of the Succession Law Committee of the Law Society of South Australia.
She is keen to educate and inform the public on legal issues and is involved in providing many community talks and information sessions for councils and community groups on an annual basis in all areas of wills and estate planning.
Alison is known for her efficient, practical and clear advice, ability to communicate with people of all levels and is conscious of providing advice at a reasonable cost to clients.
Contact Alison Evenden
For over 50 years Tony Rice has specialised in general commercial advice and wills and estates.
He is one of Adelaide’s most experienced and trusted solicitors in advising families on the preparation of wills and associated documents and in the administration of estates.
Tony was a member of Ward & Partners Lawyers from its inception in March 1969 until December 2001, and was a Partner of Adelta Legal from its inception in January 2002 until the end of March 2020. He is now a Consultant to the firm.
Outside the law, Tony has had a lifelong interest in and involvement with cricket, as both player and administrator. He played cricket for Kensington District Cricket Club for more than 20 years, and has been a member of the Club’s management committee for nearly 35 years. He is a life member of the Club. He is also involved with the South Australian Cricket Association, having been a member of SACA’s Premier Cricket Committee for over 28 years.
Contact Tony Rice
BA. Criminology & Law (Hons)
After completing her degree in Criminology and Law at the University of Keele Kate moved from England to South Australia in 2009.
Following this Kate worked as an administration assistant and paralegal for over 8 years in the areas of wills, estates, probate and commercial leasing until her admission as a solicitor in 2017. She has been an integral part of the Adelta Legal team since 2016.
Characteristically a true Yorkshire lass, Kate has a very pragmatic, approachable and welcoming manner and obtains great satisfaction from helping clients in often difficult times.
Kate’s areas of practice include:
- wills and succession planning
- probate and estate administration
- inheritance claims
- powers of attorney and advance care directives
- property law
- commercial law
- reverse mortgages.
Kate serves on the STEP Emerging Lawyers Sub-Committee and also volunteers at the Council of the Ageing (COTA) on a weekly basis providing legal advice to its members.
Contact Kate Rhodes
Chantel’s passion for law commenced at the early age of 7 on the premise of wanting to assist people in times of need.
After obtaining her Bachelor of Laws from the University of South Australia and Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Adelaide, Chantel worked in both commercial and succession law before developing her interest in the areas of wills and estates.
Now an integral part of our advice team, Chantel has obtained a wealth of knowledge and experience in the last few years in drafting complex wills and handling deceased estates.
For those who have recently lost a loved one, Chantel is a natural empath who prides herself on being able to provide her clients with a service that is holistic in its approach and based in genuity and compassion.
Specialising primarily in drafting wills and estate administration matters, Chantel can assist our clients with:
- estate administration – including obtaining simple and complex grants of probate and letters of administration
- estate planning – including the drafting of both simple and complex wills, the review of company and trust documents and providing tailored advice
- preparation of powers of attorney and advance care directives.
With exceptional interpersonal skills, Chantel truly understands her clients’ problems and is able to put their minds at ease.
If you are looking for someone who exceeds at creating a comfortable environment, is approachable and easy to talk to, look no further than our very own Chantel to assist you.
Behind the scenes Chantel has a passion for live music, being an avid musician and composer herself, and enjoys a weekend away in South Australia’s wine regions.
Contact Chantel Cortazzo
LL.B., BA., GDLP
Known affectionately as “Jacqui” to clients and colleagues, Jacqui is a new addition to the Adelta Legal family, covering the field of estate planning, wills and deceased estate administration.
Although Jacqui’s ambition to pursue law was decided early in life, she has had her fair share of practical experiences before reaching Adelta Legal. From a grazier and cropping upbringing, Jacqui quickly learnt how to become resourceful and adaptable to changing circumstances. She continues to instil the farmer’s work ethic in her practice, striving to share her authentic insights into the wills and estates process while maintaining a practical focus on factors such as time and cost. She understands the importance of asset protection and offers clients a comprehensive but simplified understanding of their options with a warm and friendly approach.
From a multicultural background herself and spending her student years learning with and mentoring international students, Jacqueline offers a great deal of patience and understanding when it comes to clients from different backgrounds, ages and varied levels of English fluency.
It is at the heart of her practice that her relationship with clients is built on confidentiality and empathy.
Jacqui can offer her services in the following matters:
- simple and complex wills
- powers of attorney.
- simple and complex probate and letters of administration applications
- deeds of family arrangement
- general advice to executors and administrators.
While Jacqui is no longer climbing grain silos and running around shearing sheds, outside of work you will either find her back home in the Murraylands painting landscapes and spending quality time with her family, or in the city indulging on flaky, golden domes of fabulous pastries.
Contact Jacqueline Johns