Probate is the process where the courts validate and register a will. Usually the executor (or their lawyer) applies for a grant of Probate from the Supreme Court. A grant of Probate is needed before the executor is able to deal with the assets and liabilities, as it allows them to prove their authority to deal with the estate.
Depending on the estate in question, in Queensland you may not need to obtain a grant of Probate. You won’t require Probate to deal with real property (houses and land), however, you should check that no other department or organisation requires a grant of Probate before you finalise any property transfer.
You will normally require Probate if you are dealing with larger sums of money in a bank or with shareholdings, as the organisations holding these will require proof of the executor’s authority.
As a guide Probate will generally be required if there is more than $50,000 in the deceased’s bank accounts, or if they have over $15,000 in a particular shareholding. However, these are not absolute rules and you should always check if you are going to require a grant of Probate. A lawyer will be able to tell you this.
In order to obtain a grant of Probate you must do the following:
- Advertise your intention to apply for Probate. This involves placing an advertisement in the ‘Public Notices’ section of a local newspaper, for example the Courier Mail in Brisbane, as well as in the Queensland Law Reporter;
- Provide a copy of this advertisement to the Public Trustee;
- After fourteen days has passed, file an Application for Probate in the Supreme Court. You will need to file an affidavit by the executor, and one confirming that the advertising requirements have been met. You will also need to file the originals of both the Death Certificate and the will to the Court, these will not be returned;
- The court will then issue the grant of Probate, usually within six to eight weeks of your application being filed.
After you have obtained a grant of Probate you will be able to undertake the actions required to administer the estate.
An application for Probate must be filed within six months of the death.
If someone dies without a will, instead of obtaining a grant of Probate you will need to obtain Letters of Administration from the Supreme Court. You can find out more about that here. [link]
To find out more about what is involved in applying for Probate or for assistance in administering an estate, contact our office on (07) 3343 9522 or (07) 5446 1745 or through our contact us service here.