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When a person dies with a valid Will, the executor of the Will needs to apply for a Grant of Probate to distribute their assets and property.
In this guide, we will explain the steps and requirements for applying for a Grant of Probate in Victoria.
What is a Grant of Probate?
Probate is a legal process that involves proving the validity of a deceased person's Will and distributing their assets to their beneficiaries. The process usually involves applying for a grant of probate from the Supreme Court of Victoria.
The executor of the Will is responsible for applying for the Grant of Probate, which gives them the legal authority to administer the estate and distribute the assets according to the terms of the Will. If there is no Will, the court will appoint an administrator to distribute the assets according to the laws of intestacy.
The difference between Probate and Letters of Administration.
Probate and Letters of Administration are both legal documents that grant a person the authority to manage the assets and property of a deceased person. Collectively, they are known as a Grant of Representation. However, there are some key differences between the two in Victoria.
Probate is the process of proving the validity of a Will and appointing an executor to manage the deceased person's assets and property. In order to obtain probate, an individual must present the original Will to the court and prove that it was validly executed.
The executor named in the Will is responsible for managing the deceased person's estate and distributing assets according to the instructions outlined in the Will.
Letters of Administration, on the other hand, are necessary when the deceased person did not leave behind a valid Will or if the executor named in the Will is unable or unwilling to fulfil their duties.
In this case, a person known as an administrator is appointed by the court to manage the deceased person's estate. The administrator is responsible for collecting and distributing the assets of the deceased person in accordance with the laws of intestacy.
Who can apply for a Grant of Probate?
Only the executor or next of kin can apply for a Grant of Probate.
What are the requirements for applying for a Grant of Probate in Victoria?
To apply for Grant of Probate in Victoria, you will need to prepare the following documentation:
- A copy of the deceased person's death certificate (If the death has been registered with Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria after 11 July 2022, a certified copy of the "Death Certificate – Cause of Death" is required)
- A copy of the advertisement
- The original existing Will or testamentary documents
- The original codicil(s) (if any)
- A list of the deceased person's assets and liabilities
- An estimate of the value of the deceased person's estate
What is the process for applying for a Grant of Probate?
The process for applying for Grant of Probate in Victoria involves the following steps:
- Obtain the required documentation, including the death certificate and any existing Will or testamentary documents.
- Advertise your intention to apply. A notice of an intended application (advertisement) for a grant must be published on the probate online advertising system at least 15 days before filing an application with the Probate Office.
- Make an account and log-in to RedCrest-Probate to complete an application for a grant of representation. You will be guided through questions to enable an affidavit and an inventory of assets and liabilities to be prepared.
- Attend a hearing before a judge, where the judge will consider the application and decide whether to grant the Grant of Probate.
- If the Grant of Probate is granted, the administrator must take an oath and post a bond before they can take control of the deceased person's assets and property.
- The administrator must then pay any debts and distribute the remaining assets and property to the deceased person's next of kin, as determined by the court.
How long does it take to get a Grant of Probate?
The length of time it takes to get a Grant of Probate can vary depending on the complexity of the estate and the number of other applications being considered by the court. On average, the process can take several months from the time the application is filed.
How much does it cost to get a Grant of Probate in Victoria?
The cost of getting a Grant of Probate in Victoria can vary depending on the value of the estate and the number of assets and liabilities involved. You will need to pay court filing fees and other costs, such as the cost of advertising the application in a newspaper. As of July 1, 2022, the court fee for applying for a Grant of Probate ranges from $64.20 to $2,171.20. Meanwhile, an Online Advertisement costs $24.50.
You may also need to pay for legal representation and other professional services, such as a real estate agent to value the property.
The team of estate lawyers at Bare Law can walk you through the process of Grant of Probate. Give them a call for a free, no obligation consultation on 1800 959 371 or head here to check your eligibility for our services.
Final thoughts on Probate and Grant of Probate in Victoria.
Applying for a Grant of Probate in Victoria can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it is necessary for distributing the assets and property of a person who has died without leaving a valid Will.
By understanding the requirements, process, and costs involved, you can be better prepared to navigate this process and ensure that the assets and property of the deceased person are distributed in a fair and efficient manner.
It is recommended that you seek the advice of a legal professional to guide you through the process and ensure that all requirements are met. Our affiliate law firm, Bare Law, are here to help you every step of the way.