If you’re the executor of an estate or the next of kin of someone who passed away without a Will, you may need to inquire with a probate court in Australia. Depending on the circumstances, your application for probate or letters of administration can vary.
To help make the process easier, here is a complete guide on probate courts across Australia and how they vary from state to state.
What is a probate court?
Probate court is where the Supreme Court verifies whether the deceased's Will is valid. For probate courts in Australia, their primary role is to make sure all assets and estate of the deceased are managed and distributed according to their Will and regulations.
Probate courts are the legal cover of a deceased person's asset management, including debt, that grants beneficiaries their part if stated in their Will. Each Australian state has a registry of the Supreme Court that handles probate applications.
Willed has a fast and efficient probate service guided by expert lawyers to help you through the process.
How do probate courts work?
If you receive a grant of probate, you are verified as the executor of the estate and can properly distribute the person’s assets and debts. If there’s no executor, then the next of kin needs to apply for letters of administration which follows a similar process.
During the probate application process, the relevant Supreme Court for each court covers two critical steps:
- File the petition.You initiate the process by filing a petition to the Supreme Court. Family members of the deceased or the Will's executor can file the petition.
- Wait for the grant of probate.First, the court will determine if the deceased left a legally valid Will. Only if the Will is confirmed to be valid will the court grant probate or letters of administration to an executor or next of kin.
If you receive a grant of probate, the executor can start to manage all estate-related implications. If the Will is deemed to be not valid, the court passes the deceased’s assets to the next of kin. In a hierarchy, the order is typically the deceased’s spouse or current partner, their eldest adult child, their parents, their siblings who are legally of age, or an individual named by the coroner.
Probate Courts By State In Australia
The Supreme Court in each state has a different probate application process. Here is a brief outline of each one across Australia.
New South Wales Probate Court
In New South Wales, probate is granted by the Supreme Court of New South Wales Probate Registry. The Supreme Court in NSW allows you to:
- Apply for a grant of probate
- Apply for Letters of Administration
- Apply for a requisition of a probate application
Victorian Probate Court
Probate is granted in Victoria by the Supreme Court of Victoria. All probate applications go through the Supreme Court, and the executor or next of kin is responsible for applying for a grant of probate. You can do this by:
- Submitting your application to the court directly
- Using a solicitor or lawyer to apply on your behalf
- Engaging and authorising a trustee company
You can also use a professional probate service to help you through the process. They will submit the application on your behalf and are typically less expensive than a lawyer.
For a list of full requirements for lodging your application, read this helpful guide on the probate process in Victoria.
Queensland Probate Court
Probate in Queensland is granted by the Supreme Court of Queensland. The supreme court In Queensland allows you to apply for the following grants:
- Grant of probate. This type of probate applies when there’s a valid Will, and the named executor of the estate is applying.
- Grant of Letter of Administration (with a Will). This type of probate applies when there’s a valid Will, but there’s no named executor, or they don’t want to fulfil their duties as executor.
- Grant of Letter of Administration (without a Will).When someone dies intestate (without a Will), the person’s next of kin needs to apply for letters of administration without a Will.
Read more: A guide to probate in Queensland
South Australian Probate Court
The probate court in South Australia is The Courts Administration Authority of South Australia. All probate applications must be made online through CourtSA. To file and manage your probate application, you must follow these steps:
- Determine which type of grant is required
- Collect any necessary documents and forms
- Access CourtSA and fill in the application form
- Lodge it and pay the filing fee
- Finally, upload the original Will
For more information, visit the official website of the Courts Administration Authority of South Australia.
Western Australia Probate Court
Western Australia’s probate court is The Supreme Court of Western Australia, in which you can pretty much apply for the same grants as South Australia. Make sure to gather all important documents and the following information:
- Full name and address of the executor
- Full name, address, and marital status of the deceased
- Full names and addresses of all beneficiaries in the Will
- A list of the deceased assets and liabilities
For further details on preparing your application, read this helpful guide on the probate process in WA.
Tasmanian Probate Court
The Tasmania probate court is The Supreme Court of Tasmania Probate Registry. You can access to see all updated details and regulations. In this jurisdiction, they can:
- Validate the Will of a deceased person
- Appoint an executor/administrator
- Administer the deceased estate
Northern Territory Probate Court
The probate court in the Northern Territory is The Supreme Court of the Northern Territory. You can apply for probate, letters of administration, resealing of a probate file and letters of administration with a Will.
You can learn more about the process of probate and letters of administration in NT here:
The process of applying for probate in Australia varies across each state or territory. To ensure you fill out your probate or letters of administration application correctly, consider a professional probate service like Willed. Our in house lawyers will support you every step of the way, including notifying others.