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Everything you need to know about applying for probate

Tue 26th Oct 2021

What is probate?

A grant of probate is a Supreme Court document that confirms the authority of someone to deal with the estate of a deceased person. Probate is required before the executor named in the will can legally administer the estate. Without a grant of probate, executors and administrators cannot deal with the estate's assets.

The process of applying for probate can often become complicated, so it can be very useful to engage an experienced professional to apply on behalf of the executor(s).

Why is applying for probate necessary?

Financial institutions and other entities holding assets belonging to the estate will typically not release or transfer those assets until a grant of probate is provided. After all, they will want to be certain that the person receiving control of the assets (i.e., the executor) is indeed the authorised person.

Who needs to apply for probate?

The executor of the estate as named in the will, is the person who must apply for probate. This is often facilitated by a solicitor on their behalf.

How long do you have to apply?

Requirements differ by state. The Supreme Court generally expects that an application for a grant of probate is made within 6 months of the deceased's death and the Court may require an explanation where a delay has occurred beyond that time frame. Some grants of probate have been issued years after the death has taken place, although this is generally not the case.

In Victoria there is no time limit for applying for probate. However, if more than three years have passed since the date of death of the deceased, you need to explain the delay in your affidavit.

In New South Wales, you should apply for a grant of probate within six months from the date of death of the deceased, unless there is a reasonable explanation for the delay.

How to apply for probate

The process of applying for a grant of probate in Australia differs from state to state. If you find yourself needing to apply, consider consulting a solicitor experienced in dealing with these matters. Willed offers Australia's leading online probate application service and assists hundreds of executors annually. Willed co-founder Aaron Zelman explains how they work with executors:

"We start with a free phone conversation to understand your situation, then we will work with you to advertise your intention to apply and complete the application in your designated state or territory, followed by helping you sign and lodge."

How to apply for a grant of probate?

Applying for a grant of probate is different in each Australian state and territory, and therefore it's important to check with your local court or seek legal advice if you are unsure of what is required. Start a discussion about probate with Willed today.