How we help
Our deceased estate services cover all aspects of estate administration, from helping to obtain a grant of probate or administration only to assisting with the full administration. Our charges range from fixed fees for “grant only” (with the fee depending on the complexity of the estate) to fees calculated on the Higher Courts costs scale for estate administration.
Please contact our office to discuss our fees and services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any Government fees or death duties payable when I die?
There are no death duties or inheritance taxes currently payable in South Australia as the result of a person’s death. However, a number of government charges may be payable depending on the circumstances, including:
- Court fees if a grant of probate or letters of administration are needed;
- Property transfer fees;
- Stamp duty (normally only applicable in unusual circumstances);
- Capital gains tax if assets are being sold; and
- Superannuation death benefits tax.
It is important to obtain advice from an experienced estate lawyer to understand if any of these charges may be applicable in your estate.
What is “Probate” and “Letters of Administration”?
A grant of probate is a court order verifying that the deceased’s will is the last will and that the executor(s) are entitled to deal with the assets in the estate. Letters of administration are the equivalent court order where the deceased did not leave a will or where the person obtaining the grant is not the person named as executor in the will (for example, if the named executor has died and the will does not provide for a substitute). Grants of probate or letters of administration are referred to here as “grants of representation”.
To obtain a grant of representation, the executor or administrator needs to lodge a list of assets and liabilities in the estate together with other relevant details at the Probate Registry. If there is a will, the original will is also lodged.
Lodgement fees for applications for a grant of representation in the Supreme Court of SA depend on the gross value of the deceased estate. The fees are adjusted each year, usually on 1 July. For the 2020 – 2021 Financial years the Court fees are:-
Gross value of $200,000 or less
Gross value of $200,001 to $500,000
Gross value of $500,001 to $1 million
Gross value over $1 million
Applying for a grant of representation can be surprisingly complicated, even where the estate appears to be relatively straightforward. Something as simple as the will being signed by the willmaker and the witnesses with different pens can create significant cost and difficulty. As experienced estate lawyers we can help you avoid the common traps.
When is a grant of representation required?
If you own real estate (other than as a “joint tenant” with your spouse or other person) or have other significant assets in your own name such as shares or similar investments and money in financial institutions. However, in small estates it may be possible to have the assets transferred without a grant if there is no real estate involved.
Do I have to get a grant of representation on the death of my spouse if we hold all assets jointly?
No, joint assets do not require a grant of probate or administration if there is a surviving joint tenant. Similarly, assets held within superannuation funds or life insurance policies payable to a surviving beneficiary will not require a grant. However, it can still be difficult to administer these assets and we are happy to help in any way we can, whether or not a formal grant is necessary.