What to do if someone dies
Administer the estate
After the burial or cremation, the next step is to arrange payment of debts.
After debts have been paid, the rest of the dead person's money and belongings - called their estate - can be distributed to the people named in the will, called the beneficiaries.
When there is a will
If there is a will, a person or trustee organisation will have been put in charge of the estate, known as the executor.
The executor is responsible for carrying out the will instructions and making sure the dead person's money and belongings go to the people named in the will, also known as the beneficiaries.
The executor must apply to the Supreme Court for permission to take control of the estate. This is known as getting a grant of representation.
When there is no will
If there is no will, usually the next of kin or a close relative can take on the administration of the estate. This is known as being the administrator.
If you are the administrator may need to apply to the Supreme Court to take control of the estate.
For more information read about being an executor.
Last updated: 21 May 2015
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