Dealing with the death of a loved one is a difficult enough but if you are the executor of a deceased estate you may have the added burden of navigating the complexities and legal formalities of obtaining a Grant of Probate from the South Australian Probate Registry. Executors often feel overwhelmed and confused about probate especially if family members are asking for their inheritances. What do you need to know about probate to ensure you perform your role as an executor successfully?
What is probate?
A ‘Grant of Probate’ is the official recognition by the Supreme Court that a Will is legally valid. You may need to get a ‘Grant of Probate’ before you can legally deal with any assets under a deceased person’s Will. Probate is not required for all deceased estates, for example in cases where the asset value of the estate is low, or the assets are owned jointly.
What is the usual timeframe?
In South Australia, it will usually take 4 to 6 weeks to process your application for probate from the date that you lodge your online application form.
However, responding to a ‘requisition’ (requests for additional information to process your application) may lead to the assessment taking considerably longer. The Probate Registry will send you a requisition if it has any questions about the application that it wants clarified before the grant is issued, or if there is anything wrong or missing in the application.
If you receive a requisition, the Probate Registry will try to deal with your application as soon as possible after receiving your response. You could receive the grant within a week if the Probate Registry does not have any further questions.
In South Australia, a potential applicant has 6 months from the date of the grant to make a claim against the estate for greater provision (i.e. to make a Will challenge). We recommend waiting until this period has expired before distributing the estate however, there are other reasons to delay so read this article as well.
What factors could slow down the process?
Some factors which can slow down the process of obtaining a grant of probate include:
- Missing details in your application;
- An application missing documents, or where rules and procedures have not been followed correctly;
- An incorrectly signed Will which requires the assessor to consider an ‘informal will’;
- A complex application due to the personal circumstances of your loved one (such as a dispute);
- Losing the original Will and lodging a copy of the Will; and
- Marks, creases, hand-written notes or damage to the Will.
Failing to anticipate and respond to any of these issues before you lodge your application will cause you delays and stress that could have been avoided.
What can you do to ensure this process goes smoothly?
These issues are all avoidable with the help of an experienced professional who can guide you through this process. We can identify issues and ensure you submit an application that complies with the various rules and formalities to speed up the probate.
If you are unsure of the process to lodge a probate application for probate or are feeling overwhelmed in your role as executor, please do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 654 590. Andreyev Lawyers appreciates you want to get the paperwork out of the way as easily and as stress-free as possible. For a fixed fee we have helped hundreds of people seamlessly navigate their way through this process so you can regain control and carry out your loved one’s wishes.