Wills & Estates
NSW & ACT probate
A Grant of Probate is a court order that confirms the validity of a Will. Many institutions require provision of this legal document before releasing the deceased estate’s assets. Our Probate lawyers in NSW and ACT have been guiding clients through the Probate application process for over 160 years. With offices in Canberra and Queanbeyan, we are uniquely positioned to assist with Probate and estate administration matters in both states.
At BDN, we understand that estate administration can feel overwhelming after the death of a loved one. That’s why our solicitors are here to support you in performing your duties as executor with confidence, and to facilitate smooth estate administration. As your Probate lawyers, we will ensure you understand:
- Whether probate is required;
- What probate involves;
- Who is responsible for obtaining probate; and
- When and how the estate can be distributed.
If you have been appointed as executor of a Will and need to apply for a Grant of Probate in NSW or the ACT, please get in touch with our Wills & Estates team today. We can take care of your Probate application, providing trusted legal advice and assistance every step of the way.
Call our Probate lawyers today for professional, proactive and compassionate support with your application.
The Probate application process with BDN
The first step in applying for Probate is to gather the necessary documents. This includes the original Will and Death Certificate, a list of all assets and liabilities within the deceased estate, and an accompanying Affidavit. If you are unsure where to start, our Probate lawyers can provide personalised advice.
Our reliable team is here to help you navigate the complexities of obtaining Probate. We can advertise your intent to apply on the Supreme Court Probate Online Advertising System, liaise with financial institutions and other third parties, draft legal documents and file the application with the Registrar of Probates on your behalf.
Once a Grant of Probate has been issued, you will have the authority to access and distribute the deceased estate’s assets to beneficiaries. At BDN, our lawyers can assist you with all estate administration matters, ensuring you fulfil your duties as executor with peace of mind.
Letters of Administration
In certain circumstances, you may need to apply for Letters of Administration as opposed to a Grant of Probate. Letters of Administration give you the authority to administer a deceased estate if your loved one has passed away without a valid Will in place, or if the nominated executor is unwilling or unable to perform this critical role. Without Letters of Administration in these situations, the financial institutions holding the deceased’s assets may reject your requests for release.
At BDN, our lawyers can help you determine whether you need Letters of Administration, as well as:
- Advertise your intent to apply for Letters of Administration;
- Serve as witnesses to the signing of your application;
- Draft and file your application with the Supreme Court;
- and Equip you with certified copies of the issued Letters of Administration.
Generally, the application process for Letter of Administration should be commenced within three months of the date of death. If you feel your situation warrants Letters of Administration and you would like support with the application, please contact our experienced lawyers today.
The person responsible for administering the estate is the executor. Usually, the Will of the deceased person will nominate the person (or persons) that is to perform the role of executor. The primary functions of the executor are to:
Identify estate assets;
Apply for a Grant of Probate; and
Distribute the estate to beneficiaries.
A Grant of Probate is an order issued by the Supreme Court to confirm the validity of the deceased’s Will. This document also provides evidence that the appointed executor has the legal authority to collect and distribute the assets of the estate.
Whether an executor needs to obtain a Grant of Probate depends on the type and value of estate assets. Each State and Territory has different rules and processes relating to probate, and as such, it is prudent to seek legal advice from a solicitor skilled in probate and estate administration.
Whether you require a Grant of Probate depends on the type, value and ownership structure of assets within the deceased estate. For example, Probate is generally necessary in NSW and the ACT if the deceased estate includes:
- Real property (i.e. land);
- Significant numbers of shares;
- and/or Bank accounts of significant value.
Ultimately, to determine whether probate is required, it is best to speak with a solicitor skilled in Probate and estate administration. At BDN, our lawyers can help you ascertain whether a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is required to administer a deceased estate. Please contact us today to get started.
Frequently, property owned in joint names will not form part of the estate and ownership of the property will simply vest with the surviving joint owner. A common example of this is where a husband and wife own a property together as joint tenants. A Grant of Probate is not typically required in this case.
As a starting point, it is generally considered that superannuation will not form part of an estate unless a binding nomination has been made directing the superannuation to be paid to the executor of the estate.
If a Will exists but it fails to appoint an executor (or if the appointed executor has died), then it will be necessary to Apply for Letters of Administration to enable a person to be appointed as executor.
An application for a Grant of Probate should be lodged within six months of the deceased’s date of death. Otherwise, you may be required to present a valid reason for the late application to the Supreme Court to obtain approval.
Given the complexity and importance of this estate administration milestone, we strongly suggest you commence the Probate application as soon as possible. At BDN, our Probate lawyers are available to ensure a smooth and streamlined process so that you can distribute the deceased estate without delay.
In Australia, obtaining a Grant of Probate generally takes between six to ten weeks from the date you begin the application process. However, this estimated duration depends on a range of factors, including:
The value and nature of the assets and liabilities within the deceased estate;
Whether the Will is contended; and
The volume of applications being processed by the Supreme Court at this time.
In extenuating circumstances, your Probate lawyer may help you to file an urgent application to the Supreme Court to expedite the process.
For more information on the expected time frame for your Probate application, please contact our team today for tailored advice.
Probate and estate administration fees are typically paid out of the deceased estate.
A Probate lawyer is a solicitor with the experience and expertise to guide executors through the Probate application process. This professional support helps to minimise any stress and delays in obtaining a Grant of Probate, so that you can perform your role as an executor as efficiently as possible.
You are not legally obliged to engage legal services for Probate in NSW or the ACT. However, the Probate application process can be complex and time-consuming, with multiple actions required by the executor. If approached incorrectly, the entire process can be drawn out further. Therefore, most executors hire a Probate lawyer to avoid unnecessary hassle, delays and expenses.
As your Probate lawyers, we can ensure every step in the application process is completed correctly and that all required documents are lodged with the Supreme Court. To seek invaluable legal support, please contact our solicitors today.
Need an experienced Probate lawyer?
We are here to help. Please contact our Probate lawyers in Canberra or Queanbeyan and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.