Probate in Australia – the Complete Guide

The loss of a close family member or friend can present many challenges, both personal and legal.

The role of the legal personal representative (also known as executor or administrator) is often complex.

Probate FAQ

  • What steps must be taken to administer a deceased estate?
  • How to obtain a grant of representation (probate or letters of administration) from the Supreme Court of Western Australia, Queensland or New South Wales?
  • How to collect assets or how to assist with the sale or handover?

What is Probate?

This is the legal confirmation of the validity of the will and the right of the person(s) to whom it is granted to deal with the estate, commonly referred to as ‘probate’.

Applying for Probate

Once the assets and liabilities of the estate have been established, the application for probate can proceed.

You will need the original will, death certificate and a cheque to cover the filing fee with the Supreme Court in your state.

What happens after probate has been granted?

Once the grant is issued, it must be registered with the holders of the assets, electronic banks and company registrars, if there are many, to facilitate the process, the Court will issue, for a small fee, certified copies. One the assets have been released, the liabilities of the estate can be paid.

Distributing Estate Assets

Before distributing the estate, the executors or administrators may wish to consider advertising in accordance with the applicable Trustee or Succession Act in your state to protect from personal liability against unknown claims.

Once the executors or administrators gain control of the assets, they must pay the liabilities and can then consider distribution to the beneficiaries. You must first check what provisions must be made to cover the remaining expenses such as taxes as well as costs and expenses of dealing with the estate