Managing the probate process: 3 FAQs

Seeking a Grant of Probate is the legal process for the Queensland Courts to recognise the validity of a will, and that the person appointed as the executor is authorised to deal with the estate. 

Being appointed as the executor of a will can come with its own set of challenges, particularly as people mourn the loss of loved ones. Being equipped with the correct information on probate can help manage the process.

With this in mind, here are three FAQs on probate. 

Why would I need to seek a Grant of Probate?

It is not necessary in Queensland for a Grant of Probate to be obtained in order to administer an estate, although in other states it may be required. However, certain people or organisations holding assets from the estate may refuse to release them without seeing a formal Grant of Probate. Another benefit is that once a will is filed in Court, it becomes a public document and anyone can see it if they pay a small fee. This transparency can help avoid conflict. 

What issues may affect its approval?

If the Court notices any tampering with the will – and this may be as small as it being stapled to another document – it can potentially affect the ruling. A good solution is to fill out an affidavit of plight and condition and finding (UCPR) to explain any damage to the will. 

Another issue would be if assets from the estate are based in Queensland, but the probate was granted in another state. In this instance, the executor of the will would need to apply to the Queensland Supreme Court. They have the authority to reseal the Grant of Probate, without which executors are not entitled to carry out the terms of the will.

How long does the process take?

If you are required to obtain a Grant of Probate, then you must first place an advertisement announcing your intention to do so in a newspaper published in the area where the deceased last resided, and in the Queensland Law Reporter. You may only make the application after two weeks have passed since the advertisements are published.

Once the application is made, the Grant of Probate is reasonably quick, depending on the Supreme Court Registry work load at the time of lodging the application, taking approximately four to six weeks before you can either collect it from the Court or have it posted to you. It may take less time if the Court is satisfied with all the documentation provided and agrees the will is the last will and testament of the deceased person.

Expert lawyers can offer advice throughout the probate process, so be sure to schedule an appointment with a wills and estates lawyer.