Many people die leaving only small estates (as that expression is defined in s 71 A&P A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation.) and in such cases the A&P Act makes special provisions for the procedures mentioned above to be simplified. These provisions apply both to testate and Without a will. A person is said to have died intestate if they die without making a will. Their property is then distributed to the nearest relatives in a set order according to law. estates (ss 71–79 A&P Act).
A special section of the Probate Office deals with small estates as defined by the A&P Act.
What is a small estate?
A small All the property a person has, including real property and personal property. It is often used to describe property belonging to someone who has died, or the property of a bankrupt. is one in which the gross value (i.e. before any debts are deducted) of solely owned assets does not exceed $100 000 – plus an indexation factor set out in section 71(1B) of the A&P Act; since 1 July 2015, the indexation rate has been reviewed on 1 July each year; see s 71(1A) A&P Act – and where the beneficiaries are the husband or wife or children or the widowed mother of the deceased.
Or, a small estate is one in which the gross value of solely owned assets does not exceed $100 000 and the beneficiaries are other than the surviving spouse, children or widowed mother of the deceased
(s 71 A&P Act).
Apart from the solely owned assets described above, the deceased may have had unlimited jointly owned assets (e.g. a house or bank account), and the estate A document that sets out what a person wants to happen to their money and other property after they die. still fall into the category of a small estate.
Where the The person named in a will as the one who must ensure that the deceased person’s intentions, as stated in the will, are carried out. or (1) (wills) Someone who takes legal responsibility for the possessions of a person who has died without making a will, or who is still alive but cannot manage their own possessions. For example, an administrator may be appointed to manage the money, house or other possessions of a person who has a severe mental disability. (2) (companies) A manager appointed by the directors of a company that is in financial difficulty. This may give creditors a better chance of getting their money back because the company can keep trading under supervised management instead of being wound up. of a small estate lives in the Melbourne metropolitan area, the staff of the Small Estates Office will arrange for a grant of representation.
Where the executor or administrator lives more than 32 km from the Melbourne GPO, the clerk of the nearest Magistrates’ An independent body that hears legal claims brought by parties and decides between them. Serious cases are heard by a judge and jury, or just a judge. Less-serious cases are heard by a magistrate. will prepare the necessary documents.
There is a fee of $461 (which will remain current until 30 June 2021) to file an application through the Small Estates Office with the assistance of a small estates officer.
Wages, money, or assets of or due to the deceased may be paid directly to the deceased’s executors, immediate family, or person entitled to the estate without probate, provided that the amount due to the deceased does not exceed $25 000 as indexed each 1 July under section 31B of the A&P Act
(see ss 31A–31D A&P Act).
The husband or wife dies and the sole (1) Someone whose money or property is being looked after for them by someone else (called a trustee). (2) A person who is left something in a will, also sometimes called a legatee. See also trust. is the surviving spouse.
The assets are a jointly owned matrimonial house valued at $250 000, a joint bank account with a A debt that does not have to be paid until some future time. Being allowed to pay later, in the future, for something you are getting now. balance of $8000 and a bank account in the deceased’s name only with a credit balance of $40 000.
A grant of probate will only be required to A document signed by parties ending a court action. The party who began the action agrees to drop it, often in exchange for a payment by the other party. Also called terms of settlement. the solely owned funds (i.e. the $40 000 bank account in the deceased spouse’s sole name).
The Small Estates Branch will hand the grant of probate to the executor, who will then have to complete the administration of the estate by themself.
A small general Formal delivery of legal documents to a person to tell them there are court proceedings against them which they must defend, or to make sure a witness in a case knows when they have to go to court to give evidence. fee is charged, and the usual filing fees on application must be paid. (For more information on the Small Estates Office, see ‘Small estates and the Probate Office’ in Chapter 2.2: How legal aid can help.)