Estate Administration

When someone close to you dies, whether family or a close friend, it’s a time of shock and dealing with the unexpected, as well as your own feelings of grief and loss. You’re catapulted into thinking about organising a funeral, whether it will be a cremation or burial, and how to organise the day, and then you also need to think about the Will and all the ramifications of dealing with the estate.

This booklet provides an overview to help you if you’re doing some pre-planning, or organising a funeral of a family member or close friend. We’ll guide you through the steps you need to take from the time of your loved one’s death through to their funeral. Most of The Closing Chapter, however, focuses on what happens with the Will and the estate. There’s information for executors, trustees, and beneficiaries as well as material about claims against an estate, dealing with small estates and what happens when there’s no Will.

We’ve also covered some topics, such as asset planning, that beneficiaries of the estate may find useful. We’ve provided a checklist of what to bring to the first appointment with the estate’s lawyer, as well as a step-by-step guide on clearing up the estate. At the back of the booklet there’s a glossary of terms that you will hear as the necessary legal processes are worked through. The Closing Chapter is designed for readers to ‘dip into’ and not necessarily for you to read cover-to-cover, so we have tried to ensure that each section is as complete as possible in itself. In order to do this, there is, of necessity, some repetition of material.

We hope this booklet helps to explain the processes and procedures around the death of a family member or close friend, gives some advice about organising a funeral, and guides you through what to do in dealing with their estate. We also hope that you get some comfort from knowing there’s a guiding hand for you as you work through grief and, often, a major change in your life.