What is a Grant of Probate and why is it needed?
A Grant of Probate, also known as a grant of representation, is provided by the Supreme Court of Victoria to the Executor(s) named or appointed by a deceased person’s Will. Obtaining a grant of probate serves two important functions:
- It shows the validity of the deceased person’s Will; and
- Provides the Executor with the necessary powers to deal with and distribute the deceased person’s estate, in accordance with the Will.
When is a Grant of Probate needed?
A Grant of Probate may not always be required and is often dependent upon the size and value of the deceased person’s estate.
A Grant of Probate will generally be required in the following circumstances:
- Where the deceased person owns or has an interest in real estate property, either as tenants in common or in their own name;
- Where the deceased person has shares; and
- Where the deceased person has funds or assets in bank accounts.
If you are not sure if you require a Grant of Probate and would like advice, speak with one of our estate planning lawyers – 03 9014 1299.
Who can apply for probate?
Usually, an Executor will instruct a solicitor, who will make the application on the Executor’s behalf. However, an Executor who is over the age of 18 years may apply for probate themselves, without a solicitor.
You can find out more about the roles and responsibilities of an Executor in our blog “Acting as an Executor for a deceased estate – your plain English guide”.
How do I apply for probate?
When applying for probate as the Executor, you will first need to locate the deceased person’s Will. The original Will may be filed with the deceased person’s private papers or securely stored with their solicitor.
Once the Will has been located, an advertisement of your intention to apply for probate needs to be placed on the Supreme Court website. This must be done at least 14 days before you complete and file your application.
As part of your application, you will also need to ascertain:
- the value of the estate by establishing the value of each of the assets owned by the deceased at the date of death (e.g. the value of real estate, shares, bank accounts, superannuation, employee entitlements etc); and
- the value of any liabilities owed by the deceased at the date of death (e.g. mortgage, credit cards, utility bills, medical bills etc).
These must be documented as part of the application. At David Davis & Associates we take the stress out of investigating these assets and liabilities and have skilled and experienced staff ready to make these enquiries on your behalf.
The Executor will also need to swear or affirm an Affidavit which, amongst other things, includes a promise to the court to administer the estate in accordance with the law.
Once you have advertised and the time frame for advertising has passed (after the 14 days), you will need to file the application with the Supreme Court.
How long does probate take?
Once an application for probate has been completed and submitted to the Probate Office, it can take up to several weeks before a Grant of Probate is provided.
If you’ve been named Executor to a deceased estate and you’re unsure about the requirements of your role or you’re having difficulties with components of your role, feel free to contact a member of our estate planning team for advice and assistance.
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