What is 'Probate' about?

Take an example. A bank account in the name of the deceased, as far as the bank is concerned, belongs to the deceased. If the bank is satisfied that another person has lawful authority over the account then it will release the funds to that person.

Normally a Grant of Probate is that authority.

The same applies to land. The Registrar of Titles will not transfer land to another person without a Grant of Probate. The Grant is an authority recognised by the Titles Office to deal with land.

A Grant of Probate requires an application to the Supreme Court. To determine whether a Grant is needed, the person appointed executor in the will must contact the organisations with which the deceased held assets to determine the organisations requirements for transfer of those assets to the executor or the beneficiaries.

Where a dispute may arise over the estate a person appointed as executor would be wise to apply for probate. Where a person does not have the right to deal with an estate, the person can be liable to beneficiaries.

Anyone appointed an executor must in the first place determine the deceased's assets and debts. Once that is known you can then determine how the assets can be transferred to the beneficiaries.

If an application must be made to the Supreme Court -

  • you must advertise the application in a prescribed form in a local newspaper

  • you must lodge a formal application with the Court with an affidavit containing

    • proof that you have advertised the application
    • some details about the will
    • some details about the deceased
    • a death certificate
    • the original will
    • statement that you have searched the Registry records to indicate a previous Grant has not been made and

  • two copies of the Grant on which the Court will place its seal.

You must also pay a fee to the ACT Supreme Court.

The application is generally through within a matter of days unless the Registrar of the Court has questions about the documents. Click below to go to the "Next" page. If you wish to see what the A.C.T. Supreme Court Rules say about the documents, just click the right button of your mouse here to take you there.