What is probate?

What is probate?

Essentially, a Grant of Probate is permission from the court to say that a Will is valid, and the executor has authority to begin administering the estate after someone dies.

Probate isn't needed in all cases - for example, if the estate is small and of low value. In other cases where there is no Will, a Grant of Letters of Administration may be required instead. 

Our probate lawyers can help you understand if you need a Grant of Probate, as well as other tasks in the process, including:

  • Completing your application 
  • Advice on the requirements for a Grant of Probate
  • Distribution of the estate
  • Your duties as an executor

If you need to apply for a Grant of Probate, get in touch. Our expert Wills and Estates lawyers can take on the administrative burden for you. 

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What you'll need

Managing an estate after someone has died is stressful, and it can be complex. Our expert lawyers are here to take on the burden and help you apply for probate.

You'll need a few documents for the process of applying for probate, and this checklist will help you get started. 

Summary of estate: assets and liabilities

This will include any properties owned, outstanding debts, bank accounts and the value of any other assets such as jewellery or family heirlooms. 

The original Will

You'll need to locate the original hard copy signed Will - this may be held by a trusted person such as an accountant or lawyer. 

Certified copy of the death certificate

This will need to be the full death certificate of the deceased person. You can obtain this from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry in your state. 

Frequently asked questions

An executor is the person or persons appointed in a Will to administer the estate. If you are the executor, this means you must apply for probate and are in charge of collecting and distributing the assets of the deceased person after any debts have been paid.

A Grant of Probate permits the executor to collect and distribute the assets of a deceased person in accordance with their Will.

What types of assets are subject to a grant?

If a house or land is held in the deceased's name only, you will need a Grant of Probate to sell or transfer the property. In most cases you will require a Grant of Probate to collect substantial bank savings or shareholdings.

A Will is required to apply for a Grant of Probate. If there is no Will and you are the person entitled to the estate on intestacy, you will have to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration to be appointed as the administrator of the estate. There is no need to apply for a Grant of Probate.

If the estate includes assets in bank accounts, shares, property or superannuation which require probate to be released, these assets cannot be called into the estate and distributed until a Grant of Probate is obtained.

It is generally expected that an executor will start the probate application process within 3 months of the date of death.

The administration of the estate should be completed within 12 months from the date of death.

A Grant of Probate can be obtained in around six weeks from the time you submit your application and provide us with necessary documents.

The legal costs of obtaining probate are payable from the deceased's estate.

We do not ask for payment upfront. You will be provided with our invoice when probate is granted. 


The probate process
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