The Ultimate Guide to Probate in Victoria

Witnessing death is the most sorrowful time of one’s life. However, taking care of the wishes of the deceased and distributing their gift amongst the beneficiaries is an equally stressful task. It’s a huge responsibility to fulfil the desires of the dead. Handling their Will and executing it as per their command is daunting, but an executor does take over the responsibility. Having a Will isn’t enough to distribute the estate; you will also need a grant of Probate from the Supreme Court of Victoria. After which, you can seamlessly distribute the estate amongst the beneficiaries.

If you are thinking about what is Probate and how you will obtain it in Victoria, this blog is here to help you-

What Is Probate?

If the deceased person had made the Will and included name(s) as executors of the Will, they have the authority to administer it. However, before distributing the estate among the beneficiaries, the executors must acquire the grant of Probate.

The grant of Probate is a legal testament that confirms the authenticity of the Will and authorises the executor to administer the Will. One can only apply for the grant of Probate if the testator, i.e., the one who created the Will, named them as an executor(s).

When Do You Need a Probate?

Now that we understand what is Probate let’s look at the conditions wherein it becomes mandatory to apply for the grant of Probate-

  • When you are an executor of somebody’s Will
  • When the testator or the deceased had sole ownership of a real estate
  • When the deceased owned a fixed share of the real estate in case of joint-tenancy
  • If the dead had assets with financial institutions such as banks
  • If the deceased is a shareholder or insurers
  • When there exists a substantial superannuation amount

What if There Isn’t a Will?

The purpose of the Probate is to authorise the executor named in the Will to administer the estate. It gives the executor the right to distribute the estate amongst the beneficiaries according to the wishes of the deceased. The executor can apply for the grant of Probate only when there exists a valid Will, and it has the name of the executor(s). In case there isn’t a Will, one cannot file for the grant of Probate.

However, close family members or next of kin can apply for letters of administration that will act as an authorisation to administer the estate.

Is a Lawyer Needed to Apply for a Probate?

Probate is a complex legal process. It is highly technical and may require prior knowledge of various related laws. Though it doesn’t require the need of a lawyer or probate expert, still approaching them can make the process easy for you.

As part of applying for the grant of Probate, the executor will have to present various documents, including affidavits, at the court. The probate expert can help you acquire these easily and take a massive burden off your shoulders.

What Are the Steps Required to Apply for a Probate In Victoria?

Gather All the Required Documents

The first step when applying for Probate is to obtain all the necessary documents. These are-

  • Full name of the deceased
  • Address the deceased
  • An address for notices to be sent
  • Original Will
  • Certified copy of the Death Certificate
  • Inventory of Assets and Liabilities in Victoria
  • Affidavit of Executor

Fill out the Probate Notification Form

The executor must file a Probate notice and wait 14 days before applying for the grant of Probate. The executor can fill out the form for Probate notice online via the “Online Registry Website”. There is a nominal fee for the procedure, which you can pay through a credit card or visit the Supreme Court in Victoria to pay the fees in person.

Apply for the Grant of Probate

After 14 days, you can apply at the Supreme Court of Victoria for the grant of Probate. You will have to submit all the necessary documents for the court to look into them.

If the court finds all the documents satisfactory, they will issue a “Grant of Probate’ that authorises your right to administer the estate.

Answer the Requisitions

If the court doesn’t find all the documents satisfactory and requires answers to queries, they will send you requisitions. You will need to answer these requisitions promptly; the court will only proceed to grant you Probate.

Administer the Estate

Once you have got the ‘Grant of Probate, you can start dealing with the estate. It includes collecting assets, paying debts and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries.

If real estate is involved, you may need to organise a sale or transfer of ownership. You should also notify organisations such as banks and Centrelink of the death so any accounts can be closed or benefits cancelled.

When Is Probate Not Required in Victoria?

Though Probate isn’t mandatory to administer the estate of the deceased, it still validates the Will, thus enabling the executor to distribute the estate per the wishes of the deceased. However, there are certain circumstances when Probate isn’t necessary for Victoria. These are-

  • If the estate is a small property
  • If there shall be no disapproval from the creditors
  • If agencies happily release the assets of the deceased

In a Nutshell

Probate is an essential document that will help to efficiently distribute the estate and give it off to the beneficiaries without causing legal trouble. However, the process of applying for and acquiring a grant of Probate is complex, so it’s best to reach out to a Probate expert who can gather all the necessary documents to apply for the Probate and acquire it for you.

Probate Consultants, the leading Probate expert in Australia, can help you prepare documents, file the application and acquire the grant of Probate quickly. They are well-known for composing documents within 24 hours, which makes the application process quick and seamless.

To know more about what is Probate and how experts can help you acquire it, call us at 1300 561 803 for a free consultation. You can even visit our website to know more