What to Prepare Before Probate Application (or Letters of Administration)

When someone designates you as Executor of their Will or as the dedicated person tasked to administer their estate in the absence of a Wwill, you need to make some preparations to ensure you have all the necessary documents to make a Grant of Probate application or request Letters of Administration.

In this blog post, we will discuss the significance of these two documents, with a focus on the Grant of Probate and the nitty-gritty of the probate process.

1. Grant of Probate & Letters of Administration Readiness Check

Click each answer to find out what you may need to do.

2. What is Probate in Australia (and Letters of Administration)?

If you are wondering what is probate and when do you need probate, the explanation below should help.

When you are appointed as the Executor of a Will in Australia, you might need to apply for certain documents, like Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, for you to be able to handle the Will properly as well as the assets covered in it.

Probate refers to the process of proving and registering the Last Will of the deceased person in the Supreme Court. In general, when someone dies, the one assigned the task of Executor applies for a Grant of Probate to handle the estate’s assets based on the deceased person’s wishes.

But for the Executor to have access to the estate’s assets and debts, a Grant of Probate is necessary. When the Supreme Court grants the probate, the deceased person’s legal responsibility embodied in the Will is transferred to the Executor. The Grant of Probate is usually required to show the Executor’s legal right to withdraw assets including bank accounts and property of the deceased person.

On the other hand, Letters of Administration are granted by the Supreme Court to a dedicated person tasked to handle an estate if the owner passed away intestate or without leaving a Will.

The Letters of Administration, like the Grant of Probate for an Executor, gives the dedicated person the legal rights necessary to handle the assets under the Will, such as bank accounts, property and other possessions left behind by the deceased. It is usually a next of kin who applies for Letters of Administration.

Below are examples of situations when a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration might be needed:

  • When the estate value is large
  • When an individual account, benefit or claim transferred to the estate is substantial (usually over $50,000 but may be lower)
  • When you need to protect yourself as the Executor or Administrator and you foresee possible disputes or claims against the estate by family members, beneficiaries or other parties
  • When the assets are owned by the deceased person in their own name or as tenants in common (the deceased person’s share)
  • When an organisation or establishment specifically requires a Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration prior to releasing any funds or assets

3. Prepare Your Probate Application

Before applying for probate to the Supreme Court, you are required to first publish, serve or advertise a notice of your intention to apply for probate (aka notice of intended application). Doing this gives the following persons the opportunity to get in touch with the Executor:

  • Creditors
  • Family members or other concerned persons
  • Other nominated Executors
  • Anyone who may have another Will
Perth – Western Australia (WA)Sydney – New South Wales (NSW)Melbourne – Victoria (VIC)Brisbane – Queensland (QLD)
Waiting Period after Notice of Intent to apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration14 days14 days15 days14 days
Figures shown are valid as at 20 May 2021 and are subject to change.

Each State and Territory will have their own process to apply for Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration. To file a probate application in the Supreme Court, you generally must follow these steps:

  • Complete relevant forms
  • Prepare a certified copy or the original Will (make sure to make a few certified copies beforehand and do not write on, staple or modify the Will in any shape or form)
  • Prepare a certified copy or the original codicils
  • Prepare an inventory of all property
  • Prepare a certified copy or the original Death Certificate
  • Prepare​ affidavits where necessary
  • File your​ application at the Supreme Court
  • Pay the filing fees

​Note: A Probate Application has to be made within 6 months from the date of death. If you file an application later, you need to provide an explanation for the delay in an affidavit.

3.1 DIY Probate Application with the Supreme Court

You can make a probate application directly by filing with the Supreme Court, either in person, by post or online.

You need to ensure all the correct documentation is there, including the relevant forms, certified copy or the original Will (and any codicils), inventory of the assets of the estate, certified copy or the original Death Certificate and affidavit(s). 

Prepare your filing fee, which can be paid by bank cheque, solicitor’s firm cheque, ​money order, cash or via credit card/EFTPOS facilities. Applications will only be processed after the filing fee is paid.

Include an A4 self-addressed and stamped envelope. The Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court will be sent to you using this envelope.

Note: Some Supreme Courts do not provide forms and require compliance with specific rules that and documents that our trusted probate lawyers in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane can help draft.

“We are all about empowering Executors and Administrators to do as much of the administration as possible. Nevertheless, we also believe in reducing unforeseen risks and it is often cheaper and less messy to get legal advice when unsure, just to confirm you’re on the right track.”

Stephan Dahinden | Founder of simplyEstate

3.2 Probate Application with Probate Lawyer Support

If you find applying for probate a difficult, time consuming or emotionally upsetting process, probate lawyers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth can help. They will prepare all the relevant documents and apply for probate at the Supreme Court on your behalf.

Seasoned deceased estate lawyers in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne will also provide you sound legal advice concerning your duties as Executor or Administrator. This is especially crucial before the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration has been granted and you can no longer discharge your duties as an Executor or Administrator of the estate.

Note: Remember, if you don’t understand and know full well your duties as Executor or Administrator, you could be held liable for any problems or losses of the estate.

Probate Lawyers in Perth – WA

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Estates Plus in Perth Western Australia WAapply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from FourLion Legal in Perth Fremantle Western Australia WAapply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Lynn & Brown Lawyers in Morley Ellenbrook Perth Western Australia WA

Probate Lawyers in Sydney – NSW

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Atkinson Vinden Lawyers in Chatswood Sydney New South Wales NSWapply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Szabo & Associates Solicitors in Surry Hills Sydney New South Wales NSWapply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Marsdens Law Group in Sydney Camden Campbelltown Leppington Liverpool New South Wales NSW

Probate Lawyers in Melbourne – VIC

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Carew Counsel Solicitors in Melbourne Victoria VICapply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from McNab McNab & Starke Lawyers in Melbourne Essendon Sunbury VICapply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Sharrock Pitman Legal in Glen Waverley VIC

Probate Lawyers in Brisbane – QLD

apply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from The Estate Lawyers in Brisbane Gold Coast QLDapply for grant of probate or letters of administration with support from Perspective Law in Brisbane QLD

4. How Much Does Probate Cost?

How much does probate cost, you might ask. The answer: It all depends on the State or Territory you apply in and in some States how large the estate is (i.e., including the assets and liabilities therein) as well as the gross value of estate assets. The logic behind this is that the size and value of the estate determine how much work is required to obtain probate and to administer estate assets. Probate costs include government-scaled costs for obtaining a Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court and negotiated legal costs for administering the estate’s assets and the liabilities.

Perth – Western Australia (WA)Sydney – New South Wales (NSW)Melbourne – Victoria (VIC)Brisbane – Queensland (QLD)
Search Fee$55.50$64.00$36.10
Court Filing Fee$370.00$0 – $5,996$63.10 – $2,134.30$748.10
Lawyer Fee$560 – $15,500
Notice of Intended Application$48.00$24.00
Notice of intended Filing of Accounts$48.00
Reseal Fee$0 – $5,996$24.00$748.10
Figures shown are valid as at 1 July 2021 and are subject to change.

4.1 How Much Does Probate Cost in WA?

The Supreme Court determines the cost of probate in WA, which is $370 irrespective of the size of the estate.

4.2 How Much Does Probate Cost in NSW?

All legal and administrative costs arising from the application for a Grant of Probate are calculated based on the size of the estate. The probate costs in NSW will include the following filing fees from the Supreme Court NSW:

Gross Value of Estate Assets held in NSWGrant of Probate Fee
less than $100,000$0
$100,000 – $249,999$778
$250,000 – $$99,999$1,056
$500,000 – $999,999$1,620
$1,000,000 – $1,999,999$2,158
$2,000,000 – $4,999,999$3,597
$5,000,000 or more$5,996
Figures shown are valid as at 1 July 2021 and are subject to change.

Many probate lawyers in Sydney refer to the following scale to determine their fees relating to preparing a Grant of Probate application.

Disclosed Value of Estate AssetsBase FeeIncremental Fee
up to $30,000$560$13.33 for each $1,000
$30,000 – $150,000$960$5.90 for each $1,000 over $30,000
$150,000 – $1,000,000$1670$4.47 for each $1,000 over $150,000
$1,000,000 – $3,000,000$5,470$1.66 for each $1,000 over $1,000,000
$3,000,000 – $5,000,000$8,800$1.10 for each $1,000 over $3,000,000
$5,000,000 – $10,000,000$11,000$0.90 for each $1,000 over $5,000,000
more than $10,000,000$15,500
Figures shown are valid as at 20 May 2021 and are subject to change.

4.3 How Much Does Probate Cost in Victoria?

An application for a Grant of Representation is calculated based on the gross value of Victorian assets only.

Gross Value of Estate AssetsGrant of Probate Fee
less than $500,000$63.10
$500,000 – $999,999$338.20
$1,000,000 – $1,999,999$631.30
$2,000,000 – $2,999,999$1,382.80
$3,000,000 or more$2,134.30
Figures shown are valid as at 1 July 2021 and are subject to change.

4.4 How Much Does Probate Cost in QLD?

In Queensland (QLD) the cost of probate application with the Supreme Court is $748.10, no matter the size of the estate.

5. How Long Does Probate Take?

The process of being granted probate can take anywhere between two to six weeks from the date of application. In general, however, the deceased estate administration process usually takes around six to 12 months in Australia. The duration depends on the types of assets that need to be dealt with. If property that’s part of the estate needs to be sold, Probate can take a lot longer to finish.

DIY probate applications can be delayed significantly because of errors or omissions, missing documents, incorrect declarations, or any incorrect applications of procedure.

Perth – Western Australia (WA)Sydney – New South Wales (NSW)Melbourne – Victoria (VIC)Brisbane – Queensland (QLD)
Waiting Period after Notice of Intent to apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration14 days14 days15 days14 days
Court Processing Time for Grant of Probate Application4 weeks20 work days2 weeks4 – 6 weeks
Court Processing Time for Letters of Administration Application4 weeks20 work days2 weeks4 – 6 weeks
Figures shown are valid as at 1 July 2021 and are subject to change.

5.1 How Long Does Probate Take in WA?

The Supreme Court of WA usually issues Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration within four weeks but may take longer if the application is complex.

5.2 How Long Does Probate Take in NSW?

Processing times may vary based on the number of applications before the Supreme Court of NSW. In general, however, applications lodged are sealed and returned within 20 working days of filing.

5.3 How Long Does Probate Take in Victoria?

It can take the Supreme Court of Victoria up to two weeks to evaluate probate applications, depending on workloads and the complexity of each application.

5.4 How Long Does Probate Take in QLD?

In Queensland, a Grant of Probate can take anywhere between four to six weeks, depending on the workload of the Supreme Court.

6. What Can an Executor Do Before Probate?

Before applying for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, Executors and Administrators should know the estate value.

To do this, Executors and Administrators should inform companies of the passing of the deceased estate owner and request statements of the deceased person’s bank accounts, credit cards and other similar documents.

This will help to create and finalise the Assets & Liabilities Inventory, as this is necessary for the application for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

If you are fulfilling the role of Executor or Administrator, the task of sending notifications to all service providers and recording assets and liabilities can become significantly easier by using the following tools from simplyEstate.

6.1 Notify of Death and Request Statements

Being the Executor of a Will, especially of a substantial estate, is no mean feat. But with simplyNotify, you can easily inform all service providers the deceased person dealt with about their demise and facilitate the stoppage of payments, subscriptions and the like. This way, you’ll make sure to save money for the estate and also have more time to perform other more difficult tasks as Executor.

6.2 Develop an Estate Assets and Liabilities Inventory

When you received all statements, you can use our simple estate assets and liabilities inventory tool to keep track of everything owned and owed by the deceased person.

By using this handy probate accounting template in Excel, you can automatically identify what items are part of the estate by default and also calculate the total estate value for the Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration application.

Once you have a good idea about the estate value, you are ready to make a Grant of Probate application or apply for Letters of Administration.

Find trusted probate lawyers near you and apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration in no time.