How Long Does it Take to Administer an Estate?


When you prepare a legal Will, you also need to appoint a person or an organisation to administer your Estate. This person is known as an Executor and they carry out the instructions in the Will. Generally, it takes around 9-12 months for an Executor to administer an Estate. This process starts from the date that an  Executor begins administering the Estate.  

Usually complicated Estates can take much longer than the estimated time period of 9-12 months.  Typically the duration to administer an estate depends on a number of factors like: 

  • The complexity of Will; 
  • Assets included in the Estate;
  • If anyone has made or will make a legal claim against the Estate or if someone is likely to the validity of the Will..

Here are some of the common things that can cause delays:


  • Difficulties in finding the Will or delays in getting the death certificate;
  • Problems in finding or identifying the beneficiaries;
  • If a person is named incorrectly in the Will;
  • Unclear, conflicting and complex payment instructions;
  • When the Executor cannot work out who are ‘in the group’ where assets are left to a particular group of people like ‘my nieces and nephews’ 
  • Difficulty in getting a grant of probate, for example: 
    • Whether the person has capacity at the time they signed the Will or not. If someone is not capable of signing, it is assumed that they are not able to make their own decisions. 
    • Inability to work out if the Will is the said person’s most recent Will.
  • Dealing with assets that are outside the locations;
  • Claims made against the estate after the executor has the grant of probate;
  • Dealing with the person’s tax and tax returns; 
  • Dealing with trusts included in the Will;
  • Issues with the Will, such as if it’s damaged or not witnessed properly
  • Distributing complex assets like superannuation, shares and retirement village units;
  • Dealing with unpaid debts.
  • Someone dies without a Will.

If you have any queries regarding Will your completing your Will online, please do not hesitate to contact us.