Grant of Probate/ Letters of Adminstration
What is Probate?
Probate is the process of proving and registering in the Supreme Court of Victoria the last Will of a deceased person. When a person dies, somebody has to deal with their estate. It is usually the executor of their Will who administers the estate. Firstly, identifies the assets and liabilities and distributes the estate as per the deceased instructions in the Will.
In order to get authority to do this, they usually need to obtain a legal document called a ‘Grant of Probate’. If a person dies without a Will, the rules of intestacy apply and the administrator can apply for “Letter of Administration”.
An administrator, has no power until the grant of administration is made in their favour, and until that time is only “the person who proposes to apply”.
To protect the interests of those who hold the deceased’s assets (for example banks) the executor may be asked to prove they are authorised to administer the Will before the assets can be released. The Grant of Probate is the proof required.
To obtain a Grant of Probate, the executor named in the Will must apply to the Probate Office of the Supreme Court of Victoria. If their application is approved, the executor is given a Grant of Probate to confirm the author of the Will has died, the Will is authentic and the executor is who they say they are.
Duties of an executor or administrator
The principal duty of an executor or an administrator is to collect and distribute the assets (or proceeds of their sale) of the deceased, in accordance with the terms of the Will or the intestacy provisions.
Some of the executor’s duties after the will maker’s death are as follows:
- make funeral arrangements;
- locate the last Will of the deceased;
- check the formal validity of the Will;
- identify assets and liabilities of the deceased;
- prove the Will;
- collect deceased assets; and
- pay the deceased liabilities and distribute estate per deceased instructions in the Will.
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