In Estate matters, we often get asked why a grant of probate may be required.
When a person passes away, their estate must be administered.
The deceased may have had minimal assets, such as a car and a small amount in a bank account. In this case, the estate can be straightforward requiring only a death certificate to sell and transfer assets.
However, if the deceased owned large assets, a Grant of Probate will be required. Large assets include real estate, shares or a large sum in a bank account. Anything of significance as an asset will usually require a grant of probate.
In this instance, the executor (named in the will) is required to make an application to the Supreme Court for probate.
A grant of probate officially appoints the executor/s as the legal representative of the deceased.
To apply for probate your solicitor will need:
– The original death certificate;
– The original will;
– A list of all the deceased’s assets and liabilities;
– A list of all beneficiaries.
Once the above information is collected your solicitor can complete the application for probate. The application includes an affidavit of executors. This document needs to be signed by all the executors and lodged with the Supreme Court.
It usually takes about 6 weeks for the Supreme Court to process the application.
There is no physical hearing. A registrar of the court will look at the application. If everything is in order a grant of probate will be issued.
The official Grant of Probate is a bound document including a copy of the will and a list of assets.
Once probate is granted to the executor/s they can attend to:
– the sale of any real estate or shares,
– close any bank accounts, and
– sell or transfer any other major assets such as motor vehicles or caravans.
Once all assets are sold or transferred, any outstanding bills can be paid.
The will usually states that the rest and residue of the estate is divided between a number of beneficiaries. Once all bills are paid, the final distribution amount can be calculated and distributed in accordance with the testator’s wishes.
The whole process on average can take about 3-6 months from start to finish.
Our team deal with estates and probate matters on a daily basis. If you have any questions about this article, contact our team.