Probate and Estate Administration
Grants of Representation and Estate Administration
What is a Grant of Representation?
A Grant of Representation is a legal document issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria that authorises an individual to act on behalf of the deceased person’s estate. It grants the legal authority to administer and distribute the assets of the deceased, settle debts and carry out other responsibilities related to the estate. There are different types of Grants of Representation, including Grants of Probate (when there is a valid Will) and Letters of Administration (when there is no valid Will).
What is Probate?
Probate is a formal approval certifying the validity of a Will and authorising the Executor to proceed with their responsibilities. It takes the form of a stamped and sealed certificate from the Court.
Is Probate always needed?
Not all situations will need Probate. Entities holding assets in the deceased person’s name decide whether they require a copy of Probate before releasing those assets. Typically, Probate is requested for assets surpassing a certain value, serving as a safeguard for the asset holders.
It’s important to note that Probate is generally required for property transfers, except in cases where the property was jointly owned.
How do you get Probate?
Acquiring Probate involves a detailed and time-consuming process, often prompting individuals to seek legal assistance. This process entails preparing a comprehensive application to the Supreme Court, detailing information about the deceased, the Executor, the Will, and the assets. Various searches and public notifications also form part of the process.
Why do I need a lawyer?
While some may attempt to navigate this process independently, the complexity and time commitment often lead individuals to feel overwhelmed, making legal guidance valuable. Lawyers are especially helpful due to the time-intensive nature of the application, the specific rules governing Probate applications, and the emotionally taxing role of the Executor.
How long does it take?
The duration of the Probate process is not swift, typically taking 3-6 months to obtain the Grant of probate and an additional 9 months to administer the estate. Delays are not uncommon, and beneficiaries may expect prompt distribution of assets, putting pressure on Executors. Managing expectations is crucial, as the Probate process inherently takes time.