What is a Grant of Probate and do I need it?

A Grant of Probate is the legal process of applying to the Supreme Court to have a Will ‘proved’, which essentially means to have it be held valid and confirmed as the deceased’s last Will.

When a person passes away leaving a Will and assets in South Australia, it is sometimes necessary for their executor to apply for a Grant of Probate before the executor can deal with the deceased person’s estate.

Whether or not a Grant of Probate is needed to administer an estate will depend on a range of factors including the value of the asset(s), the type of asset and the requirements of associated parties to release the estate assets (e.g. banks, government agencies, nursing homes, insurance companies etc.).

Generally, the greater the value of the asset, the more likely the associated party will require a Grant of Probate before agreeing to release the asset to the executor.

Typically, aged care facilities will require a Grant of Probate to be produced before releasing accommodation bonds and any other assets they hold.

If the estate contains real property, a Grant of Probate would be necessary as the Lands and Titles Office will generally not process any title transfers without it. 

In comparison, some financial institutions (i.e. banks) may not require a Grant of Probate before releasing funds but instead will do so on production of other documents.

As part of the probate application process, the executor will also need to disclose all of the deceased’s assets and liabilities as at the time of death. Once probate is granted, the executor will essentially have the Court’s permission to call in the deceased’s assets, sell and/or distribute the same in accordance with the Will after the estate liabilities have been satisfied.

The cost of applying for a Grant of Probate will vary depending on the size of the deceased’s estate. The more assets in the estate at the time of death, the more expensive the court filing fee will be. 

As Probate is not always necessary, you should seek legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances.  At Hume Taylor & Co, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to estate matters and can provide you with quality advice as well as assistance in the estate administration. Book an appointment to see one of our firm’s estate lawyers today on (08) 8223 3199.

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