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Property Law Application for Probate – General Steps

Application for Probate – General Steps

Applying for probate in Australia involves several steps.  The following is a general overview of the process:

Step 1:  Locating the Will

Before applying for probate, you should locate the original Will of the deceased.  If the Will is lost or unable to be found, you may apply for “letters of administration” instead of probate.

Step 2:  Obtain Death Certificate

Death Certificate may be applied online at the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Step 3: Determine the assets and liabilities of the Deceased

Prepare a list of assets and liabilities of the deceased including property, bank accounts, investments, debts and other financial interests. 

If the total amount of the deceased assets is less than $100,000, probate may not be necessary.  If real property is owed as in joint tenancy, the right of survivorship is applied in the situation, probate is not necessary for the title to be transferred to the surviving owner(s).  If the deceased’s assets are held in a trust, probate may not be necessary.  The trust document may specify the distribution of the trust assets according to the terms of the trust deed.

Step 4:  Advertise Intention to Apply Probate

In most States, you are required to publish a notice of your intention to apply for probate.  This may be done online on the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting website or newspaper.  This step allows creditors and other interested parties to be informed.  Notify the public trustee before you file the application. 

Step 5:  Prepare the Application

Download the application form online, complete and file with the Courts.  The general required forms can be varied by State, generally, forms are including:

(1) Application for probate

(2) Affidavit of the executor to support the application

(3) Affidavit of publication

(4) Certificate of Exhibits

  • the original last will and a clear photocopy of the original last will
  • an original death certificate

Step 6:  Filing the Application

You may file the application on the 15th day of the date of publication with the Supreme Court in the State or Territory where the deceased resided.  A filing fee will be required.

Step 7:  Process of Application

The Court will process the application and notify you by email when the grant of probate is ready for collection.  This process may take at least four to six weeks.

Step 8:  Administer the Estate

When probate is granted, the executor can begin administering the estate.  This includes paying off any debts, distributing assets to beneficiaries and completing any other tasks outlines in the Will.

Step 9:  Finalization

After all assets are distributed and liabilities settled, the executor will prepare a final report detailing the administration of the estate and provide it to the beneficiaries.

***The above process is for your reference only.  You should seek legal advice or assistance from a probate lawyer to ensure the process is completed correctly to enable you to administer the estate effectively and efficiently.