When it comes to administering an estate, one of the most common questions we get asked is, what exactly is Probate and a Court Grant of Probate?
Probate is the Supreme Court of Queensland’s official recognition of a Will as legally valid.
A grant is a Supreme Court document that recognises someone’s authority to deal with the estate of a person who has passed away. Probate is often needed before the Executor of a deceased estate can take control of the estate’s assets (administer the estate).
Types of grants
The three main types of grants that may be required are:
- A grant of probate – this is for when there is a valid will, and an executor named in the Will is applying for a grant.
- A grant of letters of administration of the Will – this is for when there is a valid Will and someone other than an executor named in the will is applying for a grant– this person Will become the administrator
- Grant of letters of administration on intestacy – this is for when there is no valid Will and the authorised person will become an administrator.
Is Probate always required?
The need for Probate in any Estate depends on individual financial institutions, insurance companies or similar, as well as the circumstances of the Will and Estate itself.
For example, a bank needs to be satisfied that an Executor or Administrator has legal authority to access a deceased person’s account before releasing any funds.
Additionally the Registrar of Titles may, in certain circumstances, require a Grant of Probate before transferring land to another person.
It’s also wise to apply for Probate if there is the potential of a dispute arising over an Estate. If it is later determined a person does not have the right to deal with an Estate, or a Will with a more recent date is located, the Executor can be liable to beneficiaries.
It’s worth noting that the process for applying for a grant can be complicated, lengthy and expensive, which is why it’s important to have an up-to-date and valid will.
Once you have a Grant you must provide it to the institutions or organisations that hold the deceased’s assets before the estate can be distributed.
You should speak to a qualified Wills and Estate professional who can provide advice on and manage the probate process.