What is Probate?
Probate is recognition of the Will’s validity and permission from the Supreme Court for the Executors named in the Will of the deceased to carry out their duties in relation to the Estate. You will likely need a Grant of Probate to deal with the assets of an estate, such as selling property and obtaining bank funds.
When is Probate not necessary?
If the deceased did not leave a will you will not need a Grant of Probate. This situation is referred to as intestacy and the law determines how assets will be shared out after debts have been paid. If you are the next of kin you can apply for Letters of Administration, which will give you authority to finalise the estate.
Probate (or Letters of Administration) will also not be necessary if the deceased held only assets as “joint tenants“. Usually in those circumstances, you will simply need a death certificate and contact the relevant institution to have the asset transferred into your name as the surviving joint tenant. We are able to assist you in transferring joint assets including cash in bank, shares, motor vehicles and real property into your own name.
In circumstances where assets are held as “tenants in common” the interest of the deceased does not automatically pass to the surviving owner and in that case, you will need to apply for Probate.
If the estate is a small one, usually under $25,000, even where the assets are not held as joint tenants you may be able to transfer assets by making an Application to the authority or institution holding that asset.
If the deceased only held superannuation it is also not necessary to apply for Probate or Letters of Administration. The trustee of the superannuation fund has specific rules for distributing the superannuation of a deceased member. In the first instance, you should contact the superannuation fund to obtain details about the superannuation of the deceased.
We are available to liaise with the superannuation fund to secure a release of the superannuation.