If someone dies with assets in different parts of Australia, you might need to apply for a reseal on the Grant of Probate, or Letters of Administration. In this blog post, Safewill Legal explores what a reseal of probate is, when you might need one, and how the supreme court process works.
What is Probate?
Probate is usually required before a deceased person's estate can be administered- assuming if this person passed away with Will. On the other hand, if a person dies without a Will, the deceased Estate would be dealt with in accordance with the laws of intestacy. In this case, a Grant of Letters of Administration would be required instead of a probate application.
Resealing a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is relevant when a person has passed away, and their deceased estate includes assets across multiple Australian states.
This is becoming increasingly relevant, as more people own assets and property across different States and Territories of Australia, as well as overseas. If this is the case for the deceased's estate, multiple Grants of Probate or Letters of Administration may be needed to deal with assets of an estate held in different places.
To streamline this process and avoid the person appointed as Executor or Administrator needing to make applications for the same legal document in different jurisdictions- each Australian State and Territory has a process to “reseal” a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration made in a different State or Territory.
A reseal of a Grant is an acknowledgment that a Probate Grant made by the Supreme Court in another State or Territory is valid in the current State or Territory.
The legal document looks very similar to a regular Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. It will have the stamp of the relevant Supreme Court and be signed by the Registrar of the Probate office to make it legally valid. Depending on the format of the original probate grant and how you submitted the grant to the court, the resealed probate grant will have the stamp of the original court, as well as the court where the grant was resealed, and be viewed as one original document.
In New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia, the reseal is issued as a paper document. In Victoria, the reseal is an electronic document that can be accessed online.
In most States and Territories across Australia, you cannot deal with assets owned by a deceased person in a different State without first obtaining a reseal of the probate grant in that State.
Example: If someone held most of their assets in Victoria but owned an investment property in New South Wales, the Executor or Administrator might need to apply for a grant in Victoria. They would then need to have that grant resealed in New South Wales to deal with the New South Wales property.
The same goes if the deceased held bank accounts or property in multiple states.
If you obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration in an Australian State or Territory, you can apply to another Supreme Court in Australia for a reseal of that probate grant.
Australian courts can also reseal Grants of Probate or Letters of Administration made in some other countries. Generally, an Australian court can reseal a probate grant if it was made by a court in ‘Her Majesty's Dominion'. This includes most Commonwealth countries, but each Australian State and Territory has a slightly different list of foreign grants they can reseal.
The process of applying for a reseal is similar to applying for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration for the deceased's estate. The court will require the original grant (or a court-certified copy of the original grant), with an Affidavit in support of the application for a reseal. Some States also need a copy of the inventory of assets and liabilities with the original application.
However, either way, this process ensures the legal right of the initial grant of probate extends to different states. And ultimately, gives the administrator or executor named in the Will the authority to administer the estate, even if the estate's assets are held across different states..
Once lodged with the court, the supreme court will review the application and issue the reseal. Processing times for probate reseal applications are similar to those for new applications for Grants of Probate or Letters of Administration.
The person appointed to administer a deceased estate has to obtain a probate grant, before they have the authority to deal and administer the estate's assets. Whether this is the executor or administrator will depend on whether the deceased person left a valid Will, however either way- dealing with this process can get complicated when the deceased left assets in multiple states of Australia.
To prevent the executor having to apply for multiple probate grants, reseal of probate allows an initial grant of probate to be recognised as valid across multiple legal jurisdictions. This grants the executor authority to administer the estate, and handle the estate's assets which are held across these different areas. In streamlining the probate process, resealing of probate ultimately ensures the wishes and assets of the deceased person are taken care of in a timely manner.
Apply for a reseal with Safewill Legal and simplify your journey as an Executor.
We provide the most affordable fixed fee Probate and Letters of Administration service in Australia, to prevent you from having to navigate the law alone. We can help you administer the estate of the deceased, whether the person died with a valid will or not.
Learn more about the reseal process with our affiliate firm, through calling the Safewill Legal team today on 1300 942 586.