When someone dies, is a difficult and complicated time and usually, there are legal things to look after.
Many people don't know what to do. KCLS might be able to help.
If someone dies and they don't have a will, then they are said to have died 'intestate'. There are special rules when someone dies intestate. Normally, the Supreme Court has to appoint someone to distribute the person's estate. This process is called a 'letter of administration'. For the Court to grant letters of administration, it needs certain documents filed which explain:
- all the people who might be able to administer the person's estate;
- the kinds of assets the person has; and
- the people entitled to benefit from the person's estate.
When a person's estate is very small, sometimes their assets can be distributed without having letters of administration granted by the Court.
If you are living in the Kimberley and you think you need help to deal with someone's estate when they die, KCLS might be able to help.
When someone dies in strange circumstances or if they die when they're in the care of a government service, like the hospital, prison or police, the law says this is a 'reportable death'. When a reportable death happens, the Coroner has to decide if a public inquest should be held. A public inquest is when a Coroner holds a hearing to investigate the death and find out the lessons that can be learnt from the death.
The Coroner's job isn’t to charge anyone or to find civil liability - that is for other Courts. If you are living in the Kimberley and need help with an inquest matter, KCLS might be able to help.
When someone dies, sometimes people disagree about where or how that person should be buried. In those cases, the Court doesn't like to become involved because they are such personal family decisions.
KCLS can give the family information to work out how they can best resolve their disagreements.
Case Study: John
John is arrested by the police, charged with assault and taken to the police lock-up. In the morning, the police find John unconscious in his cell. They take John to the hospital and he is pronounced dead a short time after. The family are upset and want to know why he died.
KCLS can help the family to:
- explain the process of what happens when someone dies in the care of the government;
- speak to the Coroner; and
- represent the family if an inquest is held.
Want our help?
Call us for free on 1800 686 020. You can get more information on how to contact KCLS here:
You can contact KCLS by phone to arrange to talk to our staff when they visit your community. KCLS is happy to be invited to talk with groups and at meetings.