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Probate – A Complete Guide

If you have been named as an executor in a Will, you are responsible for collecting the deceased’s assets, paying any debts, and then distributing the assets to the beneficiaries, in accordance with the Will.

Generally, you are required to apply for a Grant of Probate within 6 months from the date of death of the deceased, otherwise you have to give an explanation to the Court for the delay.

What is a Grant of Probate?

A Grant of Probate is a legal document, issued by the Supreme Court that authorises the executors of a Will to manage the estate in accordance with the deceased’s wishes, as set out in the Will. A Grant of Probate allows the Executors to legally transfer or sell the assets of the estate.

Do I need a Grant of Probate?

Not always, this will depend on the type, size and value of the assets located in New South Wales. Any assets owned by the deceased jointly with another person can automatically transfer to that co-owner if they were joint tenants. This can include property, bank accounts, motor vehicles and shares.

Some small assets can be transferred without a Grant of Probate.

Our lawyers can help you identify the criteria to transfer assets to the beneficiaries, and advise you whether you need to apply for a Grant of Probate.

Do I need the original Will?

You need to make enquiries to find the original Will, and any Codicils. The Will (and any Codicil) must be in writing, signed by the person making the Will, witnessed by 2 witnesses and dated.

If there are defects in the Will or the signing of the Will, we can assist you with the extra steps you need to follow to apply for a Grant of Probate. We can also assist you with the process that needs to be followed if you can only find a copy of the Will.

What happens if there is no Will?

Depending on the assets, and the way they were owned, it may be necessary to apply for Letters of Administration. If there is no Will, the estate is administered in accordance with the Succession Act 2006 (NSW). This legislation sets out who can apply to be appointed as the administrator of the estate, and who will inherit the estate. Our lawyers can guide you through this process. 

Aubrey Brown Lawyers

Our compassionate team at Aubrey Brown Lawyers understands that this is a difficult time for your family, and we are here to help. We will guide you through the whole process, including dealing with the asset holders, preparing the application to the  Supreme Court, calling in the assets and communicating with the beneficiaries on your behalf.

To speak with one of our expert probate lawyers, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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