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Probate Lawyers

Probate Lawyers

We are experienced probate lawyers and our dedicated Wills & Estates team will ensure that the Estate of your one is competently dealt with, from obtaining the Grant of Probate.

After someone has passed away there are many things to arrange. The process can be complicated and confusing for executors, and beneficiaries, on how to distribute the assets.

A person’s assets or estate needs to be administered, typically in accordance with their Will. This legal process is called Probate. Our probate lawyers have extensive experience in advising clients and managing simple and complex estate matters.

About Probate

Probate is the process of administering the estate, being the financial assets, of a deceased person. During this period the executor is in control of the estate. They are responsible for maintaining the estate and distributing the Estate according to the terms of the Will.

They will have control over the payment of debts, maintenance, collection of assets and distribution of assets. The executor/s will be handling a variety of issues and getting sound legal advice will avoid missteps along the way. Dividing assets can be complex and there are many legal, and taxation, issues to be considered.

During this time the probate lawyer will be handling the legal paperwork and making many requests for information about the assets and managing transfer of ownership of assets such as property.

The Grant of Probate is required to legally effect the transfer of ownership and this process done with a Court Application. If the application is not correct it may be rejected or requisitioned. We take care to prepare the application, so there are limited delays.

Probate & administration of an estate.

Probate lawyers assist in the guiding the executor and the beneficiaries during this time. They are skilled in handling the legal requirements and also the practical requirements.

Our professionals will handle the process carefully, respectfully and with empathy. We seek to assist our clients through this difficult time by providing clear, high-quality advice relevant to your circumstances.

We also handle estate disputes and challenges, should the need arise.

We are here to help. Call us today on 1300 907 335 to discuss your situation or alternatively complete the form on this page and we will respond to you promptly.

We can meet online or in person to discuss your matter.

FAQs on Probate:

What is Probate?

Probate is the process of administering the estate, being the financial assets, of a deceased person. During this period the executor is in control of the estate. The executor is responsible for maintaining the estate and distributing the Estate according to the terms of the Will.

They will have control over the payment of debts, maintenance, collection of assets and distribution of assets. The executor/s will be handling a variety of issues and getting sound legal advice will avoid missteps along the way. Dividing assets can be complex and there are many legal and taxation issues to be considered.

During this time the probate lawyer will be handling the legal paperwork and making many requests for information about the assets and managing transfer of ownership of assets such as property.

The Grant of Probate is required to legally effect the transfer of ownership and this process done with a Court Application. If the application is not correct it may be rejected or requisitioned. We take care to prepare the application, so there are limited delays.

Is Probate really necessary?

When an executor is appointed under a Will, it is generally necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court of Victoria Once the Will is “proven”, by obtaining the Grant of Probate, the Executor is entitled to deal with the assets of a deceased person in accordance with the provisions of the Will.

Some assets are excluded from the Estate and are dealt with directly, such as real estate held as joint tenants or superannuation that is subject to a binding nomination to a specific person. If there are other assets, including cash, Probate is generally required in order to deal with those assets. Our Probate lawyers can provide you with legal advice to whether it is necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate.

What if there is no Will?

If the deceased did not have a Will when they passed away, someone (usually the next of kin), needs to make an application for a Grant of Letters of Administration with the Supreme Court of Victoria.

This process is similar to a Grant of Probate as it is an order from the Court with authorises the Administrator to deal with the deceased’s assets. However, as there is no Will, the estate is distributed in accordance with the law. It is thus critical that you obtain legal advice.

If someone has passed away without a Will our Probate lawyers can assist you in obtaining Letters of Administration and advise you as to how the assets will be divided in your given circumstances.

How long does Probate take?

The time associated with making an application for Probate depends on a variety of factors. For example, the following factors can affect the amount of time it will take to obtain a Grant of Probate:

  • whether the deceased passed away in strange or mysterious circumstances;
  • whether the department of Births Deaths & Marriages is expedient in providing the Death Certificate.
  • whether the deceased had a Will;
  • whether there are any issues with the Will;
  • the complexity of the assets owned by the deceased;
  • the organisation of the executors; and
  • the general workload of the Court.

As executor, once you have possession of the original Will (or if there is no Will) and the original Death Certificate, you can engage a probate lawyer to commence the process for making an application for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. From the engagement of your probate lawyer the usual timeframe to obtaining the Grant of Probate is between 4 and 6 weeks.

How are a person’s assets distributed after they die without a Will?

If someone dies without a Will their estate is distributed in accordance with Victorian legislation.

The Victorian legislation determines how the estate is to be distributed and generally it is as follows:

  • Entire estate to the spouse of the deceased (if any);
  • If no spouse, then to the children of the deceased (if any);
  • If no spouse or children of the deceased, then to the parents of the deceased (if any);
  • If no spouse, children, or parents, then to the siblings of the deceased; and
  • If none of the above are applicable, the Government may have claim to the estate.

How the estate is distributed in Letters is tricky and challenging. Therefore, it is always advisable that someone has a Will so to avoid your assets being distributed to individuals you did not choose yourself.

Who can see a Will?

When someone passes away the following people can request to see a copy of a Will of the deceased person:

  • Any person named or referred to in the Will;
  • Any person named or referred in any earlier Will as a beneficiary;
  • Any spouse or domestic partner of the deceased person; and
  • Any parent, guardian or children of the deceased person.

There are other classes of individuals who may have the right to see a Will of a deceased person, but it depends on the circumstances.

Can I decline the role of executor?

In most circumstances you can decline to be the executor of a deceased estate. This is called renouncing your position as executor.

Renouncing a position as an executor is a serious event and it requires drafting and filing specialised legal documents with the Court after the testator has passed away. The Court retains ultimate discretion on whether to allow an executor to renounce their position and it generally comes down to the accuracy of the legal documents.

We strongly recommend that in any circumstances where someone wishes to renounce their position as an executor of a deceased estate that they seek advice from one of our probate lawyers.

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Our Locations

Melbourne CBD

Level 15,
440 Collins Street,
Melbourne VIC 3000

Sydney

Level 33,
264 George Street,
Sydney NSW 2000

Chadstone

Level 8,
1341 Dandenong Rd,
Chadstone VIC 3148

Dandenong

Level 2,
311 Lonsdale St
Dandenong VIC 3175

Frankston

Ground Flr,
435 Nepean Hwy
Frankston VIC 3199

Moorabbin

Level 1,
441 South Road
Moorabbin VIC 3189

Preston

Ground Flr,
84 Hotham St,
Preston VIC 3072

Sunshine

Level 5,
12 Clarke Street
Sunshine VIC 3020