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Retirement

The granting of probate and finalising of an estate

  • December 11 2019
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Retirement

The granting of probate and finalising of an estate

By Grace Ormsby
December 11 2019

It’s not something anyone wants to have to think about, but there will come a time when you or a loved one will need their estate to be finalised. What’s the process?

The granting of probate and finalising of an estate

The granting of probate and finalising of an estate

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  • December 11 2019
  • Share

It’s not something anyone wants to have to think about, but there will come a time when you or a loved one will need their estate to be finalised. What’s the process?

The granting of probate and finalising of an estate

Probate – the process of validating a will – sees a document issued by the Supreme Court in each state for the management of a deceased person’s estate in accordance with their will.

According to SUPERCentral’s estate planning special counsel Brian Hor, in order to obtain a grant of probate (or what is needed for formal authorisation of estate management) the Supreme Court needs to be provided with information about the deceased person, their assets and liabilities, the witnesses to a Will, the executors and the Will itself.

The lawyer said an advertisement of your intention to apply for probate must also be placed on the state’s Supreme Court website for at least 14 days prior to an application for a Grant of probate to be made.

“Obtaining all the necessary information to apply for probate can take a number of weeks to collate,” he commented.

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Importantly, you will need the death certificate for the application for a Grant of Probate – and you may also need it for proper enquiries to be made regarding the assets and liabilities of the deceased person.

Mr Hor did concede that “using the professional services of a lawyer may help ensure that essential elements are included in the application to streamline the efficiency of the application, and subsequently the process of probate”.

How long does obtaining a Grant of probate take?

The lawyer said the length of time taken for pronate depends on a number of factors.

Even just obtaining the necessary information to apply for probate can take a number of weeks…

“Depending on the office issuing the formal death certificate, processing times can vary, so waiting for the death certificate to be issued can also add more time to the overall process,” Mr Hor noted.

He said that typically, lodging an application for a Grant of Probate “will take at best, one or two months, from the date of death” but this is indicative only.

Once the court actually receives the application, it can take around two weeks for the application to be processed.

The lawyer was quick to admit that this is done at the court’s discretion, “so it could in fact take longer”.

Matters can be delayed even further where the court issues a “requisition asking for more information relating to the probate application”.

What happens then?

For Mr Hor, “a grant of probate is simply the start of the estate administration”.

He outlined that executors – the ones responsible for distributing the person’s assets to the people named in the Will – are then able to use a Grant of Probate to deal with the shares of the estate and follow the terms of the Will.

“Generally, executors have 12 months from the date of death to finalise and distribute the estate, based on the Will and wishes of the deceased,” he advised.

Think your superannuation is included in your Will? nestegg has previously reported how Australians need to be aware “that they have to address their beneficiaries within their super fund” separately to their Will.

The granting of probate and finalising of an estate
The granting of probate and finalising of an estate
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About the author

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Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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