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Probate is the process of proving and registering the last will of a deceased individual to the Supreme Court. It is generally overseen and accomplished by the executor if there is a will, or by a court appointed representative if there is not. The process is complex and involves numerous steps.

An application for probate is submitted to the Probate Office of the Supreme Court. Once a Grant of Probate is obtained, the Executor will have the authority to manage the assets of the estate.

Though state laws vary, probate typically includes:

1. Identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property

2. Accounting and appraisal of the property

3. Payment of taxes and creditors

There is no statutory requirement that probate be obtained in every case, but to ensure that a person seeking release of assets (e.g. bank accounts) has authority to deal with them and to protect themselves against possible liability for handing assets to the wrong person.

Asset holders (e.g. banks, insurance companies or superannuation funds) may require probate before releasing or transferring assets. However, they will often release modest amounts without the need for probate to be obtained.

Real estate held solely in the name of the deceased person or as tenant in common will always require a grant in order to deal with it.

If you would like more information or advice regarding Probate or if you have another Wills & Estate Planning matter, please complete and submit the Express Enquiry form on the top right hand side of this page and we will contact you to discuss your enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to arrange an appointment.