When someone dies leaving a Will, somebody has to deal with their estate. This person is called an executor, but before they can do anything, they must first receive a Grant of Probate. In order to be issued with a Grant of Probate, the executor (who is named in the Will) has to apply to the Probate Office.
The executor may be asked to prove that they are authorised to administer the Will. Once proven, the executor obtains a legal document - this is called a Grant of Probate. The Grant of Probate in effect confirms that the Will maker has died, that the Will is confirmed as authentic and that the executor is authorised to manage the assets of the deceased.
A Grant of Probate is a public document and is stored at the Probate Office of the Supreme Court.
If somebody dies without leaving a Will, a Grant of Probate cannot be issued. Instead, an executor must apply for a Letter of Administration in order to manage the estate of the deceased. Also, if a Will is declared invalid a Letter of Administration can be applied for by the spouse, de facto spouse or other family member.
A Letter of Administration is issued by the Supreme Court in the name of the person who applied. The Letter of Administration authorises the applicant to distribute the assets of the deceased in a way which is determined by State laws.
A Letter of Administration does not always need to be obtained, especially for a small estate. A person who wishes to administer an estate should first make a list of everything that was owned by the deceased or that they were entitled to. Any financial institutions which hold assets will then make it clear whether a Letter of Administration is required.
This website is dedicated to helping you find a Probate Lawyer located near you to assist executors and close relatives of deceased persons to obtain a Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration.
Most of our Probate Lawyers and Solicitors give short, free legal advice on first telephone contact.