When a person draws up a will, they need to appoint someone to administer their estate when they die. This person is known as the executor. The executor is responsible for carrying out the terms of the will. The executor will sometimes need to apply for probate. Probate means the official recognition that a will is legally valid. The application is made to the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court for a “Grant of Probate”. The grant is a document certifying that the Supreme Court recognises the authority of the executor(s) to deal with the estate. This will enable the executor(s) to collect the assets and pay any debts of the deceased person and then to distribute the estate as directed by the will.
Where there is no will, or some part of the will is not valid, the executor(s) or the next of kin may need to apply to the Supreme Court to be the administrator of the estate of the deceased. In this instance, the Court will issue a "Grant of Letters of Administration".
The information in this website is designed to assist people who have been appointed executors, or relatives of recently deceased persons, with understanding what the process of applying for probate (or letters of administration) is all about, and what duties you will be expected to perform.
It is possible, and not uncommon, for executors to make a personal application for a grant of probate or letters of administration, rather than make the application through a solicitor or law firm. There are do-it-yourself kits available for all States and Territories (please see the ‘Do-it-yourself Probate’ section). There are also services available to assist you in this process for considerably less cost than more conventional legal services.
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The information contained herein is not legal advice. The information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of it. We recommend that you obtain independent legal advice from a solicitor if you wish to assess the suitability of the information contained herein.