Key terms relating to deceased estates

Administration (or ‘probate’)—The authority from the Supreme Court for a person to administer a deceased estate. It can be called ‘probate’ if it is granted to the executor or letters of administration if it is granted to an administrator. For the Public Trustee it is called an order to administer. There are also other simplified forms of administration depending on the value of the estate.

Administrator—If there is no executor able to act or if there is no will, the person appointed to carry out these duties is called an administrator.

Estate—All of a person’s assets after their death.

Executor—The person named in the will to administer the estate. (There may be multiple executors.)

Intestacy—The estate of a person who did not leave a will. In this case the estate is divided among the next of kin.

Find out more about intestacy.

Trustee—If a beneficiary is under 18, a trustee is appointed to look after their assets until they turn 18 (or older if specified in a will). Often, the executor or administrator and the trustee are the same person.

Last published: 21/01/2020 12:39:23 AM