If you have any questions about Probate that are not answered below, please don't hesitate to get in touch, we're here to make probate as simple as possible.
Probate, or “the Grant of Probate”, is issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria and comprises a cover page, a copy of a deceased person’s last will and an inventory of their property. Once stamped by the Supreme Court the nominated executor obtains the power to deal with the estate assets and can pay the estate liabilities.
The application process:
Many different organisations, institutions and departments request a copy of the Grant of Probate before they are prepared to communicate with the family or friends of the deceased person.
If your friend or loved one held assets or accounts with organisations requiring you to produce probate you will most likely require the Grant of Probate in Victoria.
The following organisations most often require probate:
The Supreme Court of Victorian does not require that all executors obtain probate in VIC.
The Supreme Court of Victoria can take between 2 and 6 weeks to assess probate applications in Victoria, depending on workloads and the complexity of the application.
It is important to note however that as of 1 July 2020 the Supreme Court of Victoria has transitioned to a completely new way of assessing applications, digitally. This is unprecedented and may result in additional delays.
Before the application is processed however, it is necessary that a notice of an intended application (advertisement) is published on the Probate Online Advertising System of the Supreme Court of Victoria’s website. 15 days must lapse before the probate application is lodged.
The general rule of the 'executor's year' means that executors should administer an estate within a year of the deceased’s passing. There is precedent for beneficiaries to claim interest from the executor personally if their bequests have not been transferred to them within the ‘executor’s year’.
Due to the potential for delays in the probate application process, especially in light of the Supreme Court of Victoria’s transition to digital probate, it is best to apply for probate as soon as the death occurs.
If you are experiencing time-pressure with your application, contact us immediately to discuss an expediting application.. Simply write us a message here, or call us on (03) 9045 9700.
Unfortunately, wills can be kept anywhere and there is no central register in Victoria or in Australia generally.
Often, the will-drafting solicitor will hold either the original last will or a copy of it. Banks and accountants may also hold a copy.
It is important to conduct a thorough search of the personal documents of a deceased person. Failure to locate an original will can significantly delay the administration of a deceased estate.
In VIC a will is formally valid if:
We can still obtain probate for you if the will does not satisfy the above criteria. This is called obtaining probate of an ‘informal Will’. Please contact us to discuss your unique case by simply writing us a message here or calling (03) 9045 9700.
You will not be able to get the Grant of Probate in VIC.
However, “Letters of Administration” can be obtained in cases where no will was left. Letters of Administration in Victoria are issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria and allow the nominated administrators similar powers to executors obtaining probate in Victoria.
Read about Letters of Administration or write us a message here.
Oftens will makers draft provisions allowing their named executors extra entitlements for the “pains and troubles” associated with this task. If no provisions were left in the will you are administering you should have a read about Executor's Commission here.
You, as the executor, have the right to obtain the last will from any person holding it. This includes solicitors.
You aren’t obligated to use any particular solicitor in Victoria - even if the will itself names a solicitor for the executor to use!
If you would like assistance to obtain a will from a solicitor write us a message here.
Yes, Land Data Victoria requires the Grant of Probate to be produced for the purpose of updating or transferring property which is owned by a deceased person.
Companies, organisations and departments require the Grant to indemnify themselves from claims to their accounts and assets by other people.
Banks, aged care homes, share registries, will all rely upon the Supreme Court of VIC’s to test the will’s validity to be satisfied that they are releasing funds to the correct claimant, executor or estate administrator.
No one will force you to act as the estate executor and you don’t have a legal obligation to perform this task.
You can renounce executorship and allow for a substitute executor to act in your place.
Contact us to discuss the renunciation of your role as executor.
The asset-holding organisations will most often mail cheques payable to “the estate of the late...“ once probate the Grant of Probate.
This is a special kind of cheque which must either be deposited in a “Deceased Estate Account” or a solicitor trust account.
Yes. a codicil also requires probate like the last will of the deceased.
A codicil acts as an addition to the last will. It generally doesn’t revoke past wills, but either amends adds additional paragraphs to the last will.
A codicil has the same requirements of validity as the last will. If the codicil hasn’t been validly executor, it might still be admitted by the Court as an ‘informal testamentary document’. If you think that you have an informal condicl please write us a message here.
A Power of Attorney (POA) ceases on the death of the principal (the person giving the power).
As a result, the POA is not recognised as having any power in relation to obtaining probate or estate administration. This document may however be important in the context of estate litigation.
An executor should usually distribute an estate within 12 months from the date of death. This is known as ‘the executor’s year’ rule.
These notices provide estate creditors, and potential litigants, contact details for estates. Such notices used to be published in local newspapers, however are now published on the Probate Online Advertising System of the Supreme Court of Victoria’s website.