What is Probate and Letters of Administration?

The Ultimate Guide

Overview

At Probate Consultants we understand that applying for Probate and Letters of Administration can be confusing and daunting. Making sure you’re well-informed and prepared means that you won’t be caught off guard at an already difficult time.

When a person dies, typically, the executor of the Will or the next of kin has to finalise their affairs. This involves gathering the deceased’s assets, paying any outstanding debts, and distributing the assets to those entitled.

Sometimes, these activities can be completed informally, but in some instances, you may need to obtain Probate or Letters of Administration beforehand. Letters of Administration and Probate are both officially known as Grants of Representation.

What exactly is Probate?

Put simply, Probate is a legal process where the Supreme Court certifies that a Will is valid and can be acted upon. It also confirms that the executors named in the Will have the legal authority to finalise the deceased person’s estate.

Many people don’t think about how their assets will be dealt with when they pass away until they have to administer the estate of a friend or loved one. This process often involves applying for Probate where there is a Will, or Letters of Administration where there is no Will.

At Probate Consultants we know that applying for Probate or Letters of Administration is more than a legal procedure – it’s about gaining access to the estate of someone who has passed and distributing their final gifts to loved ones. We truly understand what you’re going through and proudly provide a fast, affordable and easy service to make your experience as smooth as possible.

So, what are Letters of Administration?

Letters of Administration are issued by the Supreme Court to the person who will be legally entitled to deal with the property and assets of someone who has passed away without a valid Will. This person is usually the closest next-of-kin and they are appointed Administrator of the estate. In some cases, more than one person will apply to be the Administrator.

Why and when might I need Probate or Letters of Administration?

Probate and Letters of Administration are not mandatory when tasked with administering a deceased estate.

Probate and Letters of Administration are required when an asset holder (Bank, Super Fund, Aged Care Facility, etc) requests to view a Grant of Representation in order to allow access to a deceased person’s assets. It may also be necessary to perform other duties in relation to finalising a deceased person’s estate, including making contact with the ATO regarding tax returns or dealing with liabilities such as mortgages.

You need a Grant in the following situations:

  • Seeking the refund of an Accommodation Bond (RAD) from an aged care facility.
  • Transferring title of real estate that was held solely by the deceased, or as tenants in common.
  • Accessing funds in a bank account over a certain value, usually $50,000.
  • Dealing with a shareholding over a certain value, usually $50,000.
  • Accessing Superannuation that is payable to the estate.

In determining whether you need a Grant of Probate, you can:

  • Contact the relevant institutions and ask whether they require a Grant in order for you to deal with the property.
    1. If there are minimal assets, you may only need to produce a certified copy of the Will and death certificate.
  • Contact Probate Consultants for a Free Consultation regarding the estate.

We always recommend applying for Probate and Letters of Administration as soon as you can.

What do I need to know about applying for Probate?

Applying for Probate is often straightforward and can take anywhere between 4 to 8 weeks depending on the state or territory. The process can be delayed for many reasons, including where:

  • Only an informal Will exists
  • There is only a copy of the Will, rather than the original
  • There are disagreements on decisions between joint executors
  • There are defects in the application or the Will

You don’t need a solicitor to apply for Probate when the application is straightforward. And in many cases, it is. The challenging part is navigating the complicated forms, filling them out correctly and arranging all the necessary documents for lodgement. Probate Consultants do the tricky paperwork and processes for you, without providing the legal advice that in many instances you don’t need.

The way that you apply for Probate is different in each Australian state and territory, so it’s good to stay informed about the legislation in your location. Sometimes, a deceased person has assets in multiple states and the executor may need to apply for a reseal of the Grant of Probate in the other states.

Applying for Probate and
Letters of Administration in Australia

Applying for Probate and Letters of Administration in Victoria consists of the following:

  • Advertising your intention to apply on the Supreme Court of Victoria website
  • Drafting the application online
  • Preparing all supporting documents (‘Exhibits’)
  • Lodging the duly executed application on RedCrest- Probate.
    1. This can only be done once the advertisement has been published for 14 clear days.

Summary

Applying for Probate and Letters of Administration can seem like a daunting task. There are quite a few steps involved and the Supreme Court in each State has strict requirements for what needs to be completed as part of the application process. Not to worry, help is here! Probate Consultants aim to provide clear, practical and relevant information so you feel fully informed and get the peace of mind you deserve. We also provide a Free Consultation to answer all your questions – No Timers, No Obligations.

With Probate Consultants, you get the same legal outcome whilst experiencing a truly bespoke and personal service. Rather than treating every situation the same, we assess the needs of each individual client and tailor the application process accordingly, with a priority on ease and simplicity. We also complete all applications in 24-hours and guarantee the fastest Grant approval times possible.

If you have any questions or would like professional support in applying for Probate or Letters of Administration, contact us today. You’ll only ever deal with one, dedicated consultant at Probate Consultants which ensures you feel heard, understood, and fully informed every step of the way.

Call us today on 1300 561 803 now or arrange a Free Consultation.

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