You’ve been named as an executor in a loved one’s will. It’s an emotional time. You’ve arranged a funeral and said your goodbyes. You set about finalising your loved one’s affairs only to be told you need a grant of probate. What? Why? How? Where do you begin?

What is probate?

Being told by a bank or aged care home (just some examples) that you need a grant of probate before they are prepared to release money to you is frustrating. You have the will and it clearly names you as the executor so why should you have to bother with a grant of probate? Well, the answer lies in the nature of probate. A grant of probate says to the world that Supreme Court accepts your appointment as executor and the will as the valid last will of the deceased. Without a grant of probate, the bank or aged care home would just be relying on your assurance that the will, and your appointment, are valid without any real way of being able to verify this.

By relying on a grant of probate, the bank or aged care home can confidently release funds to you knowing that they are protected against claims by others who may later try to challenge the will or your appointment as executor.

So when is probate required and when isn’t it?

This is the frustrating bit as there is no uniform rule and whether you need a grant of probate comes down to what assets are in the deceased’s estate and what you need to do as executor. For example, in Queensland you do not need a grant of probate to sell the deceased’s house but most banks will require a grant before releasing anything in excess of $50,000 (or less for some banks) to you. The same applies to transfers of company shares and accommodations bonds in aged care.

Likewise, a bank may also require a grant of probate before they will open an account in the name of the estate for you.

For smaller amounts (often less than $50,000), the asset holder may be prepared to release funds to you on the condition that you indemnify them against any loss if a claim is later made against them.

The only real way to know whether a grant of probate is required for your loved one’s estate is to get in touch with each of asset holders (such as the bank or aged care home) and ask them. Unfortunately all it takes is one to say yes and you’ll need to get probate. But we’re here to help make the process as quick and smooth as possible while keeping costs to an absolute minimum.

If you’ve been told you need a grant of probate in respect of a loved one’s will, get in touch for an obligation free chat.

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Generations Law would like to acknowledge the First Nations people as the original inhabitants and traditional custodians of the lands on which we operate and pay our respects to all Elders past, present and emerging as they hold the memories, traditions and culture of these lands and waterways and thank them for their wisdom and guidance. These include the Yuggera and Turrbal people in and around Brisbane, the Goenpul & Jandawal people of Moreton Bay, the Kombumerri people of the Yugambeh language group of the Gold Coast and the Gubbi Gubbi people of the Sunshine Coast.