If you die without making a valid Will, this is called dying “intestate”. State law will then determine how your estate is distributed. Unfortunately, this often means that your estate isn’t distributed according to your wishes.
In Tasmania, distribution is made following the Intestacy Act 2010 formula. In order for the estate to be administered somebody needs to apply to the Court for authority, similar to Probate. This authority is called Letters of Administration and the person authorised is the administrator.
The administrator that the Court selects may not necessarily be the person who you would have selected if a Will was made. The duties of an administrator are similar to an executor and can include paying debts, collecting assets, finalising tax affairs and distributing the assets in accordance with the Intestacy Rules. The administrator must establish the family tree using certificate evidence which may be an expensive and time-consuming task depending on who are the next of kin or if they live overseas.
The Public Trustee can take on this role if next of kin agree to the appointment, but the Public Trustee is not automatically assigned to take on the administrator's role.
Looking after intestate matters can be a complicated process. The Public Trustee can administer estates when someone else is appointed executor but asks us to take over their role. For those estates where family members are widely scattered or are not close, our in-house genealogist is highly successful in tracing relatives.