It’s one of the most commonly asked questions about Wills and the process of estate planning and administration in Australia.
In this post we give you an easy to understand guide to what Probate means, and what the process involves for your Will, or the Will of someone close to you.
Applying for (or “filing for”) Probate involves making an application to the court to approve your Will and give your Executor (the person you named to manage your Estate) the authority to start carrying out the instructions in your Will on behalf of the Beneficiaries.
If a person dies without a Will (known as “dying Intestate”) or without an Executor, an Administrator will be appointed by the court via a similar process to Probate. In this case, the document approved by the Court will grant 'Letters of Administration' instead of 'Probate', and the Administrator will often be a close relative or another person who was well known to the Will maker.
In Australia there is a Probate Registry in each state and territory that handles Probate applications.
An application for Probate most commonly involves the following steps:
The Executor can act in this job on their own, or they can team up with a lawyer to help and advise them.
The cost of applying for Probate in Australia will depend on which state or territory the application is lodged. It’s based on a scale relating to the value of the Estate.
In NSW, for example, the current cost of Probate can vary from around $1,000 in the case of small Estates (worth between $100,000 and $250,000) to around $6,000 for larger Estates (worth $5 million or above).
For some very small value Estates, Probate isn’t required and there will be no cost or requirement to file for a Grant of Probate.
The filing costs are the same whether the application is made by the Executor or a lawyer acting on the Executor’s behalf. However, in the case where you hire a lawyer to help, legal costs will obviously be added for their time spent dealing with the matter.
There are several stages to the Probate process, each with their own timeframe:
Learn more about how to start on your Estate planning journey with Safewill.