Probate Solicitor - Executors and Administrators

LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 090

What is probate? A question often asked of solicitors following the passing of a loved one. Probate is the process whereby an individual with a legal interest in the estate establishes their right to effectively represent the deceased, in order to carry out the wishes of the deceased and to administer and distribute the assets of the deceased either in accordance with the contents of a will, or if no will exists, in accordance with the statutory provisions laid down by law in cases where the deceased did not make a valid will. Whilst there is no need to employ a probate solicitor, more complex estates involving substantial property and subsequent tax implications may benefit from qualified legal advice from a specialist probate solicitor.

Executors & Administrators

A valid will may appoint an executor or in cases where there is no will or where the will is silent on the appointment, the court may appoint an administrator with almost the same rights and duties as an executor. The appointment is perfected by the Registrar of the High Court issuing a document known as a Grant of Probate which is evidence of the authority of the executor for third parties who may hold assets formerly belonging to the deceased. Our probate solicitors deal with the issue of a grant of probate or the issue of a grant of letters of administration by the Registrar of the High Court in Australia.

Intestacy - No Will or Lost Will

If an individual dies without making a will or if a purported will is invalid and there is no earlier will to take precedence then the person wishing to distribute the assets of the estate must apply to the Registrar of the High Court for appointment as an administer and for the grant of a document known as a Grant of Letters of Administration which proves the administrators authority to third parties who may hold the assets of the deceased. Where there is no will the Intestacy Rules apply and the assets are distributed to close relatives under the formula outlined by law. Where there are no relatives the estate is forfeit to the state.

Will Validity

A will must be legally valid and must comply with the relevant law. If a will fails then the intestacy rules which determine distribution of assets to close relatives will apply unless an earlier valid will takes precedence. The requirements for a valid will are as follows:-

  • The will must be in writing and it must be signed at the end by the testator.
  • The document must be intended to take effect as a will. The will must be witnessed by two other people who must both be present when the testator signs, and the testator must also witness each of their signatures.

Will Challenges

Assuming that a will is valid, that the statutory requirements are satisfactory and that there are no disputes relating to the will having been executed as a result of undue influence or mental infirmity there are several grounds upon which a will can be challenged in a court of law including:-

  • A close relative with inadequate financial provision under the relevant law.
  • Failure to keep promises made in return for services rendered.
  • Spouse or partner requiring relationship property to be divided equitably.

Grant of Probate Solicitors

If you require advice on probate or on disputed wills our specialist solicitors offer help and guidance. If you would like legal advice just complete the contact form or email our offices and a specialist probate solicitor will call you at your conveniences.

LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 090

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