Proving the Will - Probate in Queensland
We are often asked about the process of what happens to a person’s estate after they die and how long it can take to have access to an inheritance. Probate can often be an important part of the process that many people may be unaware of.
So, what is “Probate”? Obtaining a Grant of Probate for a Will is an application to the Supreme Court of Queensland for an order that the Will is legally valid and the last known Will of that person. The Grant of Probate then allows the executor to administer the estate in accordance with the deceased person’s wishes within the Will. The executor is the person nominated in the will to administer the estate.
How long does it take to obtain Probate?
After 30 days from the death of a person, the executor of the will may apply for probate. There are notice periods to various parties first and it is not normally sought until at least 2 to 3 months after the date of death. Probate will usually be granted between 4-8 weeks after application is made.
How do I know if I need to get probate?
There are a number of reasons to get Probate, but usually it will depend on the assets of the estate. A Grant of Probate not only protects the executor, it will also protect any entity which holds an asset of the estate. Depending on the amount held in any account, most banks will require it to deal with their accounts. If there are any shares held in the estate then Probate will also be required to deal with those shares. Quite often Retirement Villages will require it to release any bond or security they hold. Real estate is one asset that does not need probate to deal with it, however the Titles Office will usually require the original will to be lodged if Probate is not obtained.
Sometimes the process of applying for probate can get complicated; in particular if there are excluded beneficiaries or if there have been inappropriate provisions made for certain beneficiaries. A Grant of Probate will not protect against a Family Provision Application where an excluded beneficiary wishes to seek further provision from the estate.
Letters of Administration is similar to probate and are required when there is no named executor in the will that is willing to administer the estate.
SPM Law are here to help. If you are the executor of a will, or a beneficiary uncertain about your rights, and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our estate administration team of Andrew Markert, Michael Sobey and Debbie Meadows..