Probate Frequently Asked Questions

It’s a commonly asked question – “What is probate and why do I have to apply for it?”

Put simply, a grant of probate is the necessary step between the death of a person and carrying out their wishes according to the Will they have made. Generally, an executor must receive a grant of probate in order to begin distributing that person’s estate.

Receiving a grant of probate ensures two things:

  • That the Will is the last Will of the deceased person; and
  • That the nominated executor has the power to begin the administration of the estate.

Once the grant has been received, the executor will call in and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries listed in the Will. Often, the executor will need to provide the grant of probate as proof before they call in and distribute the estate.

When is Probate not required?

It is also important to note that in some situations, you won’t have to apply for probate. If the estate is small and doesn’t involve real estate, shares or significant amounts of money, a probate application may not be necessary.

However, in many situations, probate is a necessary step in the succession process.

What if someone has died without a Will?

Where a person has died and has not left a Will, or has left a Will that isn’t considered valid, the next-of-kin will apply for letters of administration to be appointed as an administrator of the deceased person’s estate.

To apply for letters of administration, a person must provide an administrator’s oath, death certificate, as well as details of the assets and liabilities of the deceased. If granted, letters of administration, the distribution of the estate can begin.

What’s the process in applying for probate?

Grants of probate are applied for online and must follow a certain form. The Supreme Court of South Australia has jurisdiction to review applications for probate and will require documentation including (but not limited to):

  • Original Will
  • Death Certificate
  • Statement of Assets and Liabilities of the Deceased.

The application for probate must be made by an executor named in the Will. Often, people engage a solicitor to assist them in the process of making an application and administering the estate.

If the Court is satisfied with the application, it will allow a grant of probate. Essentially, this confirms the validity of the Will, as well as that of the executor in being able to give effect to it.

Next Step

Applying for probate and administrating deceased estates can be a complex process in what is an often difficult time for people. If you are confronted with the process of applying for probate, speak with one of our skilled Wills and Estates Lawyers.