What is a Grant of Probate?
When a loved one dies and you have been appointed as the executor of their Last Will and Testament, you may need to apply for a Grant of Probate (Probate) of that Will.
Probate is a document issued by the Supreme Court which certifies the Court’s recognition that a deceased’s person’s Will is their legally valid and last Will. It also authorises the appointed executor to deal with the estate. Probate is required by an increasing number of institutions including banks and share registries before they will release a deceased person’s assets.
Benefits of obtaining a Grant of Probate
The process of administering an estate and obtaining Probate at the very time that you are still coping with the loss of a loved one can feel overwhelming. Having this court approved document ‘opens doors’ with many institutions, and they will require far less paperwork from you to release the assets they hold. It therefore can make the administration of the estate much quicker and smoother. Probate also reduces the personal risk of an executor.
The Court Process
The requirements of the Court when making an application for Probate are strict and you can delay the whole process by missing just one small thing in the documents or process. It is important to get this foundational part of the estate administration task right, so you don’t delay the administration of assets for beneficiaries.
Trust the Probate professionals
At Estate First, we are specialist Probate and estate lawyers who can help you obtain Probate and assist you with all or any other aspects of the estate administration that you need help with. At our initial meeting with you, one of our expert Probate lawyers will provide you with a fixed fee for obtaining Probate, along with a written quote for any other work to finalise the estate. We assist clients in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria with all of their deceased estate needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a ‘Grant of Probate’?
Probate, more formally known as a Grant of Probate, is a document issued by the Supreme Court which provides the Court’s recognition that a deceased’s person’s Will is the legally valid last Will and Testament of the deceased and the appointed executor is authorised to deal with the estate.
Do I need a Grant of Probate?
This will depend on a few factors. For example, jointly held cash and property held as joint tenants does not need a Grant of Probate. However, a number of institutions (including banks and share registries) may not release assets of the estate to the executor without a Grant of Probate (read more about collecting assets and paying bills here). In some States, you need a Grant of Probate before you can transfer land/real property (other than property held as joint tenants).
Sometimes the paperwork required by an institution without producing a Grant of Probate is onerous and outweighs the cost of obtaining a Grant.
Also, as an executor, regardless of the estate asset position, you should take the time and receive appropriate advice from a wills and probate lawyer regarding the particular estate you are administering, so you can seriously consider whether as an executor you want or need the personal protection that a Grant of Probate affords to you. At Estate First, we are expert probate lawyers and we can provide this advice to you during your initial meeting.
When is probate not required?
Probate is not required if:
- you are dealing with jointly held assets or property held as joint tenants
- you are dealing with superannuation (including life insurance) where the deceased made a valid binding death benefit nomination
- assets of the estate are of a significantly low value
- there is no Will – you will then need to apply for Letters of Administration
- there is no executor appointed in the Will or able to act. You will then need to apply for Letters of Administration with the Will annexed.
In these circumstances, other steps to administer an estate will need to be taken (e.g. arranging transfers of joint assets to the surviving joint owner, making a superannuation death benefit claim, obtaining a Grant of Letters of Administration and so on).
How do I obtain a Grant of Probate?
It is a legal process and requires an application to court along with supporting documentation, including the Will and death certificate. We recommend that all executors obtain legal advice from a Wills and Probate lawyer prior to submitting any court documents. At Estate First lawyers, we provide this advice during our initial meeting with you to discuss your options.
Costs for obtaining probate will be quoted and provided as a fixed fee during your initial consultation with us.
How long does it take to get a Grant of Probate?
Generally, obtaining a Grant of Probate normally takes between six (6) to ten (10) weeks from the commencement of the process. The process involves placing an advertisement and service of a notice of your intention to apply in the prescribed publication for your state and then waiting up to 14 days before filing your application in the Court registry.
The timing then largely depends on the volume of applications at the Supreme Court in your state. If there is an urgency to obtaining the Grant of Probate, then in certain circumstances an urgent application can be made to the Court by your probate solicitor.
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