Probate Lawyers Melbourne 

Administer your loved one’s estate in a stress-free, cost-effective way that maintains their wishes. 

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Simplify Estate Administration with Wills and Probate Lawyers in Melbourne 

When a loved one passes, everyone reacts differently, but one thing stays the same – the need to grieve, to process, to remember. 

That need shouldn’t be disrupted by the stress of administering their estate.  

Our experienced probate lawyers in Melbourne deliver straightforward, empathetic advice that helps you move forward in a cost-effective way.  

We’ll help you apply to the Supreme Court of Victoria for either probate or letters of administration (depending on whether your loved one left a valid will or not). 

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Grant of Probate 

  • Issued when a valid Will is left 
  • Issued to the executors of that Will 
Will creation & dispute

Grant of Letters of Administration 

  • Issued when the deceased passed without a valid Will 
  • Normally issued to the closest surviving next of kin
property permit

Grant of Letters of Administration With the Will Annexed

  • Issued when the deceased left a valid Will but the named executors have died or are unwilling to act as executors 
  • Normally issued to the beneficiary with the greatest entitlement 
Probate and Estate Administration

What’s My Duty as the Estate Executor? 

An executor is appointed in the Will of a deceased person (the testator) to manage the testator’s estate and administer it in accordance with the Will. 

If a deceased loved one has appointed you as an executor in their Will, you can choose to either accept the appointment or renounce it. 

Accepting the role of an executor means you must do certain things, such as: 

  • Accurately inventory the testator’s estate (including valuations where necessary) 
  • Publish a notice of intent three months before applying for a grant of representation 
  • Apply for a grant of representation, if a grant is required 
  • Faithfully and honestly execute the testator’s Will in accordance with their wishes 
  • Act in the best interests of the estate, protect the assets until distribution, and settle any liabilities 

If you don’t want to accept the role of executor, you can renounce your appointment. Generally, the best way to make sure you’re meeting your legal obligations as an executor is to follow the advice of an experienced wills and probate lawyer in Melbourne. 

What Is a Grant of Representation in Victoria? 

A grant of representation allows the executors of an estate to legally administer that estate. 

A grant of representation can take three forms: 

  • A grant of probate 
  • A grant of letters of administration 
  • A grant of letters of administration with the Will annexed 

All three grants do the same thing: allow the estate of the deceased person to be administered. 

Most agencies and institutions require a grant of representation before they will give the estate administrator access to the deceased person’s assets. 

Normally, a grant application is submitted to the Supreme Court of Victoria, but you may have to make a submission to a different Supreme Court if the deceased person’s estate contains assets in a different jurisdiction. 

A grant of representation isn’t always required, either. 

For estates with minimal assets, institutions may release those assets without a grant. 

If the deceased owned real estate, jointly held assets, or superannuation, though, a grant will be necessary. 

Probate and Estate Administration

How Long Does Estate Administration Take to Complete? 

Once you’ve received a grant of representation, you’re legally able to access estate assets held by asset holders and agencies like banks. 

That access means you can start administering the estate – settling debts held by creditors and distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries. 

Normally, the estate administration process takes about nine to 12 months.  

More complex Wills take longer, and issues with the administration – like finding beneficiaries, working out historical tax liabilities, or getting access to digital accounts – can extend the time needed. 

Estate administration can also be prolonged by a Will challenge (where someone alleges the Will is not valid) or family provision claims (where people feel they haven’t been properly provided for under the Will). 

Good estate planning and up-to-date contact/access details can help make estate administration faster and more cost-effective.  

The Estate Administration Process 

1. Initial Consultation

Book an appointment with a member of our Wills and estates team to get advice on how to proceed with your matter. 

2. Document Collection

Once we understand what actions need to be taken to help you administer your estate, your probate lawyers in Melbourne may ask for any of the following documents: 

  • The original will and any codicils 
  • A certified copy of the original death certificate 
  • An inventory of assets and liabilities 
  • An affidavit of publication of notice and searches 
  • An affidavit by the executor 
  • An order of the registrar 
  • An originating motion for a grant of probate 

To make the process as smooth as possible, collect as many of the above documents as possible after your loved one passes. 

If you’re not sure what a particular document is, ask your wills and probate lawyer or solicitor.  

3. Will Deposition

Once you and your solicitor have collected all the required information about your loved one’s wishes and estate, your solicitor will deposit a copy of the most recent Will with the Office of the Registrar-General. 

4. Grant of Representation

Before you can apply to the Supreme Court of Victoria for a grant of representation, your lawyer will publish a notice of intent with the Court.  

A note of intent allows creditors and family members to make a claim on the estate for monies owed to them. 

Once the notice of intent has been published, your lawyer will make a submission to the Court for a grant of probate, a grant of letters of administration, or a grant of letters of administration with the Will annexed. 

5. Estate Distribution

When you have the grant of representation, you can access the estate’s assets and begin administration in accordance with their Will.

Your lawyer will normally handle this for you; payment of liabilities like tax or distribution of assets like superannuation can be extremely complex, and may require specialist advice.

Success Story 

Couldn’t recommend Mr Ben Vincent and his team enough. Respectful, caring and down to earth and amazing at what he does. Super happy with outcome and would definitely use his expertise again.

Jackilyn Lee

Practical Guides to Wills and Estates Law 

When you’re preparing for your consultation with one of our team, reading up on the basics of Wills and estate law can be helpful. 

Get started with our library of easy-to-read articles and guides. 

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Your Law Team

Penny LaGreca
Partner | Principal Solicitor

 

Penny is a leading family law solicitor admitted in the Supreme Court of Victoria. 

She has a broad range of expertise across multiple practice areas like family law, Wills and estate planning, and personal injuries, and is currently completing a Masters of Family Law. 

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Testimonials

Very professional, respect, friendly, patiently dealing with the client specially English is my second language,I am very satisfied I would like to say thank you to Sam twining, you did amazing job!

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Absolutely stunning law firm, handled everything from A-B with A+ class, professionalism and knowledge. Honestly couldn’t recommend higher.

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Understanding, work hard too achieve the best possible outcome for the client and I'm very happy with the outcomes and commitment from their legal team. Would recommend their firm too anyone especially regarding family law matters.

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Probate and Estate Administration FAQs 

How long does a probate application take?

Once all required documentation has been received by the Court, a grant of probate usually takes a few weeks from the date of application. However, if further information is needed or if the registrar of probate has questions, the application may take longer. 

Can my probate application be rejected?

A probate application can be rejected if the Will has serious faults that make it impossible for a reasonable person to accept that it represents the last wishes of the Will-maker. An application can also be rejected if:  

  • it was completed incorrectly; 
  • an ineligible person applied; or  
  • someone with an interest in the estate lodged a caveat.  

It is important to have a lawyer apply for probate on your behalf to increase the likelihood that your application will be successful and to challenge any caveats.  

How do I stop a grant of probate?

Your lawyer may be able to stop a grant of probate by entering a caveat on the estate. This will prevent probate from being granted until the Will matter has been resolved.   

Can I contest a Will after probate has been granted?

Yes, you can still contest a Will after probate has been granted. For example, if you are an eligible person and believe you are entitled to more of the estate than the deceased provided for, you may choose to contest the Will.  

Eligible persons may include but are not limited to:  

  • spouses and de facto partners; 
  • children (including adopted or step-children); and 
  • other dependents. 

If you want to contest a Will after probate has been granted, you must do so within six months of the date of the grant of probate. 

Who can apply for letters of administration?

In Victoria, the person able to apply for a grant of Letters of Administration is generally:  

  • the person most entitled to receive a benefit from the deceased person’s estate (the closest next of kin); or  
  • a trustee company.  

The closest next of kin may include:  

  • a spouse or de facto partner; 
  • a child living with the deceased person when the deceased person died; 
  • a child who was dependent on the deceased person for financial support; 
  • a creditor or other person with a legal interest in the estate; or  
  • a trustee or guardian. 

How long does it take to get letters of administration?

Once all documentation has been received, an application for letters of administration usually takes four to six weeks to process. 

How do I stop a grant of letters of administration?

Letters of administration can be stopped by entering a caveat on the estate. A caveat gives the caveator the opportunity to be consulted and to make representations to the court. A caveat is in effect for six months and may be renewed until removed.   

Expert representation from leading Melbourne Wills and estates lawyers. 

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