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What is probate?
It is the process of having a Will validated by the courts. Once granted, the executor named in the Will can deal with the assets and liabilities of the estate.
What happens when somebody dies without a legal Will?
Where a person dies without a legal Will, the law determines who will receive the estate. In this instance, letters of administration need to be obtained from the Supreme Court, which will allow the assets and liabilities of the estate to be dealt with.
Letters of administration authorise a person (called an administrator) to administer the deceased estate and distribute assets.
Each estate is different and you should seek legal advice from a deceased estate lawyer about your position before deciding whether it is necessary for you to obtain a grant.
By working with us we can:
- Help you obtain a grant of probate
- Minimise the delays at each stage of the process
- Take the burden of dealing with everyday administrative complexities away from the grieving family
- Keep you fully informed of progress as it occurs but will keep the interaction between the family and their lawyer to a minimum so that family isn’t burdened with requests
- If disputes do arise – we have a specialist team who can assist the executors fend off any challenge to the Will/estate
Our experienced team of lawyers will work with you to assess the relevant issues and advise you frankly of the legal options and avenues available to you. Please contact us via the form on this page or by calling us.
1. Stage 1
The first stage involves gathering all the information about the deceased assets and liabilities.
- What property was owned by the deceased (where the deceased owned property jointly with others, or owned property through a company or trust, this property might not form part of the estate)
- The value of the deceased’s property
- The location of the deceased’s property
- The requirements of banks, share registries, insurance and superannuation companies
- Whether the deceased was involved in court proceedings prior to his or her death that can be continued by the estate
If the assets/liabilities are complex and/or the deceased had poor records this could take up to a few months.
2. Stage 2
Once the information is gathered together, an application for grant of probate has to be made to the courts. The application is usually dealt with administratively so no appearance in court.
The courts can take as little as 4 weeks and as much as 8 months to process the application. Timing depends on how busy the courts are and this varies from time to time.
3. Stage 3
Once probate is granted the next stage of the process is the administration of the estate. This involves collecting all the assets, paying all the debts and then distributing assets to the beneficiaries. The timing of the administration is again dependant on the number of assets and complexity of the assets in the estate.
Note:The administration can take as little as a few weeks but in many cases can take 12 months or more. The most common period is about 8 months. If the will is challenged by someone the probate application and /or the administration can be delayed until after the courts determine the dispute. This can take a lot longer.