When a loved one dies their estate needs to be attended to. Locating the deceased person’s Will and obtaining a Grant of Probate is the first step in this process. The appointed executor of the Will is required to make an application in the Supreme Court for the Grant. A Grant of Probate is a certificate from the Court verifying that the deceased left a valid Will and that the Executor is entitled to administer the estate.
Generally, a Grant of Probate application includes:
- a summary of the estate’s assets and liabilities;
- a copy of the original Will; and
- a certified copy of the death certificate.
The original Will is lodged at the Court where it remains permanently.
Not every estate will require a Grant of Probate before being able to be administered. For example, estates with low value assets can usually be dealt with informally. A Grant is also not required in instances where all assets are held by the deceased jointly with another person(s) who has survived. However, a formal Grant is required in instances where a third party such as Land Services SA, nursing homes, banks and company share registries stipulate the need for a Grant to release an asset. A Grant may also need to be obtained in instances where the estate could be contested by an eligible applicant under the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972.
The time it takes to obtain a Grant depends on the complexity of the estate. For example, it can take several months to identify all the assets and liabilities. Once an application has been filed with the Court it can take between one to two months (longer if the court is busy) for the court to review it and issue the Grant. The speed of this process also depends on whether or not the court requires further information from the executor.
Making an application for a Grant is often a complex and onerous process. Moreover, it requires an understanding of the technical aspects of the law and an appreciation of court procedures. A Scammell & Co. solicitor has the skills and experience to apply for a Grant and administer a deceased estate on behalf of executors.
More information on Wills and Deceased Estate Administration can be found here.