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
Senior AssociateRead More
Kerry has more than 15 years of experience practising as a lawyer in England and Australia.
Kerry joined the Adelta Legal team in January 2022 and brings with her extensive experience in estate planning, estate administration and property matters.
Kerry prides herself on providing a proactive and collaborative approach to other professional advisors and clients.
Kerry is able to assist clients with a full range of estate planning needs, including:
- Drafting Wills
- Powers of Attorney
- Advance Care Directives
- Advice and establishing Testamentary Trusts
- Estate planning advice including the consideration of non-estate assets such as family trusts and superannuation
- Administration of Deceased Estates
Kerry has particular expertise working with blended families to ensure their complex estate planning needs are satisfied.
Kerry is a member of the Law Society of South Australia.
Contact Kerry Miller
MTax, LL.B. (Hons), BArchSt
Christina was admitted to practise in 1997 and she holds a Masters degree in Taxation.
Before joining Adelta, she worked for the Australian Taxation Office for over 20 years.
Christina is a tax specialist with a wealth of experience in providing tax advice, including employee share schemes, capital management issues (return of share capital, demerger, share buy-back), debt/equity and integrity measures on capital benefits.
She has worked with large ASX listed corporate groups and private family enterprises.
She is strategic in her approach when resolving tax disputes involving small businesses. She has strong analytical skills when dealing with complex issues and is sensitive in managing relationships.
Christina has experience in and can assist clients with:
- Providing private advice on corporate transactions
- Employee share schemes
- Resolving complex tax disputes involving multiple parties
- Conducting tax litigation at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
- Complex applications for private rulings
- Providing capital gains tax and income tax advice
In addition, she also be deals with deceased estate administration, estate planning and various commercial and property transactions.
Christina focuses on providing practical solutions to complex problems
In her free time, Christina likes to play the violin and attend musicals.
Contact Christina Fung
Senior AssociateRead More
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 sincerity 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.
- Hellenic Australian Lawyers Association
Contact Chantel Cortazzo
LL.B., BA., GDLP
Known affectionately as “Jacqui” to clients and colleagues, Jacqui works the field of estate planning, wills and deceased estate administration.
From a grazier and cropping upbringing, Jacqui is 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. Jacqui 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, Jacqui 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
- advance care directives
- simple and complex probate and letters of administration applications
- deeds of family arrangement, statutory declarations and contracts for mutual wills
- 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.
- Asian Australian Lawyers Association
Contact Jacqueline Johns