Obtaining a grant of probate

A grant of probate is a document issued by the Supreme Court. Application for a grant of probate is made by the executor/s named in a will. Below are some commonly asked questions about grants of probate.

  1. What is a grant of probate?

A grant of probate is a document issued by the Supreme Court of Queensland which officially recognises a will as the last valid will of the deceased and the right of the executor/s named in that will to administer the estate.

  1. Why and when do you need a grant of probate?

Most executors seek the assistance of lawyers to obtain a grant because an institution (such as a bank or share registry) requires a grant before they will release the assets they hold. For example, many banks will require a grant for balances over $50,000, many insurers for payments over $50,000 and many share registries require a grant for share parcels valued at $15,000 (for one share registry) and $50,000 (for the other share registry).

These limits are for convenience only, however, and an institution has the right to insist upon the production of a grant for an asset of any value.

  1. Who can apply for a grant of probate?

A grant of probate can only be taken out by the executor/s named in the will.

A will may appoint multiple executors, however a grant of probate will only be made to the first four named persons who accept the office of executor.[1]

A grant of probate cannot be taken out by minors, persons suffering from any physical or mental incapacity of such a degree that they cannot perform the functions of an executor and persons currently imprisoned. However, in some circumstances, others may apply for a grant on their behalf.

  1. How do I apply for a grant of probate?

There are a number of steps to be taken in applying for a grant of probate.[2] As an executor applying for a grant you must advertise your intention to apply for a grant of probate and call for creditors; provide a copy of the advertisement to the Public Trustee; allow 14 days for objections; prepare the court documents for your application which will include the original will and original death certificate; and file the application and supporting documents at the Supreme Court.

  1. How long does it take to obtain a grant of probate?

The advertising, preparation and execution of the probate documents usually takes between 2 – 4 weeks after the issue of the death certificate.

Following the lodgement, your application is examined by court staff and provided that the documents are in order, the grant of probate will issue. This part of the process usually takes up to 4 – 6 weeks, depending on the Supreme Court’s work load.

Further reading

Grants of representation

Obtaining a grant of letters of administration

 

[1] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/sa1981138/s48.html

[2] http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/courts/supreme-court/wills-and-estates-probate/steps-to-follow