A Grant of Probate is a certificate issued by the Supreme Court
of Western Australia that attaches a copy of a deceased
The Grant provides the Executor of the Will with the legal
call in the assets of the deceased;
pay the deceased's debts;
deal with any claims against the deceased's estate;
transfer or sell the deceased's property; and
distribute the balance of the deceased's estate in
accordance with the terms of the Will.
Other types of Grants
If an adult dies without leaving a valid Will or if the Executor
named in the Will has died or is unable or unwilling to act as
Executor, then it is necessary to apply to the Supreme Court for
Letters of Administration instead of a Grant of Probate.
Obtaining Letters of Administration from the Court can be costly
and time consuming as the person seeking the grant must locate and
obtain the consent of all of the deceased's beneficiaries to
the appointment of Administrator of the estate. If the
beneficiaries fail to agree on who is to be appointed, the Court
will decide who will be the Administrator of the estate.
It is often necessary for a lawyer to be engaged to obtain
Letters of Administration.
How Do I Apply For Probate?
It is strongly advisable to engage a lawyer experienced in
obtaining Probate and dealing with estate administration to assist
with an application for a Grant of Probate or Letters of
Administration, especially if:
there is evidence of incapacity of the deceased prior to death
(e.g. dementia noted on the Death Certificate);
all Executors have died or refuse to act; or
there is any dispute amongst Executors or beneficiaries.
The first task of the Executor is to locate the last signed
original Will of the deceased. This may involve an extensive search
of the deceased's papers, contacting solicitors that the
deceased may have used or advertising.
The next requirement is to identify all of the assets and
liabilities of the deceased. A thorough review of the
deceased's papers is necessary, but the Executor should also
contact any banks, other financial institutions, businesses or
organisations that the deceased may have dealt with. This can be
difficult where there are little or no comprehensive records or
where assets may be interstate or overseas.
Ascertaining and finalising taxation, litigation, estate
liabilities, business debts and entities of the deceased can take
some time, often months or even years.
Once the details of the estate assets and liabilities have been
compiled and a statement of estate assets and liabilities prepared,
a motion and affidavit signed by the Executor is prepared (usually
by a solicitor) and lodged at the Supreme Court together with the
last original Will of the deceased. The Court reviews all the
documents and once satisfied that these are in order, the Grant of
Probate or Letters of Administration will be issued to the Executor
or Administrator of the estate.
If the Supreme Court is not satisfied with the form or content
of information provided, then it will seek further information by
way of requisition.
Where the deceased has left adequate records of their assets and
liabilities and their last Will has been properly prepared and
located by the Executor, it is a relatively simple exercise to
obtain a Grant of Probate. Where the Will cannot be found, is not
valid, has not been signed properly, the Executor has died, or all
assets and liabilities cannot be easily identified, a lawyer will
likely be required and the process of obtaining Probate or Letters
of Administration may take longer.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Sect.117 can deal with false statements and knowingly making false allegations of violence could justify a costs order.
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