[Date: 25 February 2023]

The term “probate” is unfamiliar to many. However, probate is often something you need to get your head around when a friend or family member passes away. In this short article, Bruno from Zed Legal explains what probate is, when it becomes necessary and how to apply for probate within South Australia. 

What is probate?

The term probate describes the process of validating a deceased person’s Will. When a court grants probate, there is an official confirmation that the Will is valid and authenticated and that the executor of the Will can commence carrying out the conditions of the Will. This includes identifying any assets or liabilities, handling, holding and distribution of any property, wealth or assets, as indicated in the Will, along with any other designated actions to be carried out. When the application for probate is approved, the Court issues a document called a Grant of Probate, which confirms that the executor has all the necessary authority to handle the Will and pay any associated debts. 

When is probate required?

Applying for probate is certainly not required every time that a Will is being enacted. In many cases, the person listed as executor in the Will can carry out the conditions without court involvement. It is only in some cases that probate is required. Financial institutions or business interests may require probate to ensure they are making a payout to the correct person. Compiling a list of assets will help you understand if probate will be required. 

Without a Grant of Probate, some asset holders may refuse to make a payment, even if it is clearly designated within a Will. Examples of when probate may be necessary include cases where the deceased person had:

  • a bank account with a significant amount of money and the bank requires probate confirmation about the dispersal of funds
  • many shares in a company
  • significant insurance or superannuation
  • property assets solely in their name (especially within a nursing home or retirement village)

What are the probate rules in South Australia? 

Probate laws actually vary across state and territory in Australia, and can be even more complex when you are handling a Will internationally. Each bank and financial institution will also have its own policies about the administration of probate. Because of this, it makes sense to get some advice if you find yourself in a situation when a probate case is required. 

The general steps for probate here in SA include:

  • Collecting information and documentation related to the matter
  • Completing any relevant probate forms, which are available at the CourtSA website
  • Lodging the probate application/s and paying any associated fees

Handling a Will, especially a complex one can be stressful and confusing. There are more than sixty relevant forms related to probate on the CourtsSA website about probate. At Zed Legal, we understand that your focus will be elsewhere when you have lost a loved one. Contact us if you need some assistance in the administration of an estate, applying for a Grant of Probate or contacting a financial institution detailed in a Will. 

At Zed Legal, we understand that your focus will be elsewhere when you have a lost a loved one. Contact us if you need some assistance with probate by emailing us at – [email protected]. Alternatively, you can book an appointment with us at www.zed.legal/booking/

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