What is probate and estate administration?

Probate sounds like another confusing legal term. Technically, probate is permission from the court that a Will is valid and that an executor can begin the process of administering the estate in line with the Will instructions. In general, before you can act as an executor of a Will, probate lawyers can assist you in applying for a 'Grant of Probate'. However, the necessity depends on the value of an estate.

If you are in NSW or VIC you can apply online and we will manage the entire application process for you:Our local legal experts can advise you on whether you need probate or not, do your application for you, and help you manage the distribution of the estate.

Why and when is a Grant of Probate needed?

A Grant of Probate is the first official step in the estate administration process.

Plus, a number of professional organisations might refuse to cooperate with you as an executor without a Grant of Probate. For example, banks, insurance companies and superannuation funds often require probate before they will release or transfer assets for you to distribute.

It’s very common for estate administration to feel overwhelming when a person passes away. But, with the right guidance and a bit of background knowledge you can take on your new role with confidence.

Get your probate application started today with your local team at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. We are experienced and ready to help with all your estate administration needs.

How to apply for a Grant of Probate

To apply for Grant of Probate you need five documents, including:

  1. a summary of the estate including its assets and liabilities (in most states)
  2. your 'executor's affidavit'
  3. a copy of your 'executor’s advertisement' advising of the intention to apply for probate
  4. the original Will
  5. a certified copy of the deceased’s full death certificate.

Having tailored advice from a professional lawyer can help increase the chances that your application is successful. It will also make the entire process significantly less stressful.

We understand that estate administration can be an emotional time. An experienced lawyer can help you throughout each step of the probate process, including:

  • locating, preparing and correctly ordering the required documents
  • creating a professional affidavit
  • lodging your 'executor's advertisement'
  • certifying the deceased’s full death certificate
  • providing professional and emotional support.

If you want a bit of extra support with your application contact your local team at Maurice Blackburn today, we can manage the entire process for you.

The top 10 tasks of an executor of a Will

Estate administration can appear intimidating at first but breaking it down helps to make it much more manageable. These are the ten main tasks you need to work though:

  1. locate the Will
  2. arrange the funeral in consultation with family members
  3. identify and gather assets and liabilities of the estate
  4. apply for probate
  5. preserve the assets of the estate
  6. pay the estate liabilities
  7. defend the estate during any legal proceedings
  8. manage the deceased's income tax affairs
  9. notify relevant authorities of the recent death such as Centrelink, Medicare, local council and insurance companies
  10. distribute the estate's assets in accordance with the terms of the Will

Does every Will need probate?

It depends on the nature and extent of each estate's assets. For example, if the assets have a minimal value, you can usually distribute them without probate. You also don't need probate to distribute a jointly-held asset to the surviving owner. 

If there is no Will then you need to apply for Letters of Administration.

An experienced lawyer can give you tailored probate advice based on your unique situation.

How long does it take to get a Grant of Probate?

The time it takes for you to receive an approved Grant of Probate depends on the complexity of the estate. For example, tracking down the estate's assets and liabilities can sometimes take several months. You need to complete this list before you lodge your application.

However, once you lodge your application you can be ready to go in under ten days, if the court isn’t too busy.

What if the court has further questions?

In some cases, the court might ask you for more information before they can approve your application.

You can never know what questions the court may come back with. So, if you are confused or concerned about any questions put to you, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. An expert lawyer can help put your mind at ease and ensure your application isn’t held up for longer than necessary

How can a lawyer help with Grant of Probate?

Applying for a Grant of Probate can be one of the most arduous parts of the estate administration process.

Our local team of estate administration experts will work with you to track down every asset and prepare you perfectly for your court application. You see, we know every state's Grant of Probate process inside and out.

If you are in NSW or VIC you can apply online and we will manage the entire application process for you:

So contact us today to see how we can help you.


Discuss your probate application and estate administration today.

Speak to one our team for:

  • tailored, empathetic and expert guidance
  • leading industry lawyers
  • minimal stress
  • fair price packaging.
Have a question? Call us on 1800 519 710

Andrew Simpson

National Head of Wills and Estate Planning, Wills and Estates

"The most rewarding part of my work is helping people obtain access to estate funds in circumstances where they are in financial need, which can be life changing."

Andrew Meiliunas

Senior Associate, State Litigation Leader, Wills and Estates

"It is important for clients to achieve a just and reasonable outcome and I’m proud that I can help make that happen."

Laura Evans-McKendry

Senior Associate, National Wills Drafting Leader, Wills and Estates

"It is satisfying to be able to help people navigate the necessary legal processes."

Alex Maxwell

Lawyer, Wills and Estates

"It is very rewarding to know I am helping people who have placed their trust in me."

Geoff Donohue

General Manager of Personal Legal Services, Wills and Estates

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