Probate is derived from the word “prove”. It is a process whereby the Supreme Court becomes satisfied that the will of a person who has died is the correct last will of the deceased and issues a certificate to that effect called probate.
Once the Court issues probate of a will, the probate can be produced to any interested party who will then deal with the executor named in the will knowing that they are dealing with the person who has authority to deal with the assets of a deceased person.
An executor is not required to apply for probate in every case. It is most usually required where the assets of a deceased person include substantial financial assets, e.g. money on fixed deposit, an interest in a superannuation fund or a share portfolio. Where the assets of an estate include only a modest amount of money in a bank account, a bank will, in certain circumstances, release those funds to an executor without the necessity to obtain probate as long as the executor is prepared to sign a form agreeing to repay the money to the bank if it is subsequently discovered that there was a later will.
The necessity to obtain probate adds several thousand dollars to the cost of administration of the estate because of the necessity to prepare documents in a specific form, the need to advertise, and the filing fees payable to the court to apply for probate. In the absence of complications, it takes approximately three months after somebody has died to obtain probate of a will.
If you have questions about probate or if you would like to speak with one of our wills & estate lawyers about obtaining probate for a will please call our offices on 07 5532 3199 or contact us using our online form.