The Executor will need to apply for Probate.
What is Probate? – Probate is essentially official recognition that a Will is legally valid and gives permission to proceed with administering the ‘estate’. An application is made to the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court for a ‘Grant of Probate’.
The grant is a document certifying that the Supreme Court recognises the authority of the Executor(s) to deal with the ‘estate’. This will enable the Executor to administer the Will (ie. collect the assets and pay any debts of the deceased person, and then to distribute the ‘estate’ as directed.)
A ‘Grant of Probate’ is necessary to ensure that the person seeking the release of assets has the authority to do so. Therefore banks and other asset holders, such as insurance companies and superannuation funds, generally require probate before releasing or transferring assets.
A ‘Grant of Probate’ is also necessary if real estate properties are to be transferred or sold.
How To Obtain Probate – If you do not have a solicitor acting on your behalf, you will have to prepare the documents yourself.
It will also be a requirement to advertise your intention to apply for a grant of probate by placing an advertisement in the Public Notices section of a newspaper circulating throughout the state, or a newspaper approved for the area of the deceased’s last known residential address.
Refer to your state’s Supreme Court Practice Directions. A ‘codicil’ is a supplementary document executed in the same way as a Will that explains, modifies, alters or confirms a Will previously made.
Anyone claiming to have an interest in the estate can file a ‘caveat’ (objection). If this is supported by further evidence, it will stop the grant of probate being made until the claim is resolved.
To obtain a ‘Grant of Probate’ the Executor must file various legal documents at the Supreme Court. Documents required include: the original Will, the death certificate and a complete statement of all assets and liabilities of the ‘estate’.
For a comprehensive summary of the requirements and the necessary forms, go to the Probate section at the Supreme Court website within your State or Territory.