The death of a friend or relative can be a difficult time, especially if you’re taking care of their finances and other matters while still grieving.
If you are the executor of the person’s will, you may need a grant of probate before you can go ahead.
What is a grant of probate?
A grant of probate is an order from the court confirming the validity of the deceased’s will. The grant of probate provides evidence that the executor has the legal authority to collect and distribute the assets of the estate.
Whether an executor needs to obtain a grant of probate depends on the type and value of estate assets. Each state and territory has different rules and processes relating to probate, so it’s best to seek legal advice from a solicitor skilled in probate and estate administration.
The person responsible for administering the estate is the executor. Usually, the will of the deceased person will nominate the person (or persons) that is to perform the role of executor. The primary functions of the executor are to:
- Identify estate assets
- Apply for a grant of probate
- Distribute the estate.
What to consider when determining if a grant of probate is required
A lawyer who specialises in wills and estates will be able to advise whether you need probate documents. The following is a general guide for determining if a grant of probate is required.
- The executor of the estate is the person in charge of ensuring the deceased’s wishes are followed through.
- The executor must first identify what assets and liabilities the deceased had at the time of death.
- Where were those assets located? Each jurisdiction has different laws and requirements, so you’ll need to know whether the assets are located in the ACT, another state or territory or overseas.
- Once the executor has determined the above they should be able to determine the value of the deceased’s estate.
- Often the value or size of the estate determines whether probate is required.
- If you are executor to a will it is recommended that you seek legal assistance to prepare and draft probate documents.
What makes a great probate service?
Preparing and drafting probate documents is a specialist skill, and it’s often best to seek the services of a probate and estate lawyer. When choosing a law firm, it can be helpful to keep the following in mind.
- Specialisation. Probate and estate administration can be complex, so it’s best to work with a firm that handles situations like yours every day.
- Qualifications and awards. Industry recognition can give you peace of mind that your chosen law firm is trusted and respected amongst its peers.
- Diverse experience. Your lawyer should have experience in handling both straightforward and complex applications, as well as an understanding of how to deal with other organisations such as banks and share registries.
- Effective communication. Dealing with an estate after losing a loved one can be a stressful and confusing time, but the right lawyer can make the world of difference in guiding you through. Your lawyer should provide clear and helpful advice that you understand. It’s important to work with someone who you find helpful, approachable, and is able to demystify the process so you understand where you stand.
- Ability to handle estate disputes. While you hope nothing will go wrong, you want a lawyer who can act for you and give you expert advice if a claim is made against the estate or there’s a dispute with beneficiaries or other executors. Choose a firm that handles both probate applications as well as estate disputes.
The top probate services in Canberra
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Meyer Vandenberg is a well-known local law firm that can assist you to navigate, understand and manage your probate application. Its services include:
Estate planning for individuals
- Preparation of wills, including testamentary trust wills and special disability trust wills
- Applications to appoint a guardian
- Preparation and registration of powers of attorney, enduring powers of attorney and medical powers of attorney
- Wealth management advice for complex succession issues and family structure reviews
- Reviews of current trust and company structures to ensure estate planning objectives are met
On the passing of a loved one
- Deceased estate administration and distribution of assets
- Disputed wills and inheritance claims
- Applications for probate
- Transfer of title for residential and commercial property.
Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers delivers expert legal advice, guidance, and representation right here in Canberra. With a team of multi-disciplinary professionals, you can expect a hassle-free will service tailored to your specific needs.
Located in the heart of Canberra, Bradley Allen Love (BAL) Lawyers boasts a strong reputation and track record for achieving positive client outcomes. Its specialist estate planning, wills, probate, estate administration and estate disputes team practices across all Australian jurisdictions, with a particular focus on Canberra, New South Wales, and Queensland.
Recognised by Doyles Guide as a top-tier wills and estates law firm, BAL’s specialist estate lawyers are highly-trained and experienced. Many have completed, or are completing, a Masters of Law (Applied Law) majoring in Wills & Estates through the College of Law in New South Wales.
Dealing with the death of a loved one can be stressful and complex, but you’ll feel in safe hands at DDCS Lawyers. They combine technical know-how, years of practical experience and compassion and sensitivity to guide you through the estate process.
DDCS has a team of dedicated wills and estates lawyers who can provide expert guidance on all matters from straightforward estates to complex issues including intestate estates (where a person dies without a will and an application for letters of administration is made), informal will applications (where a will is not properly signed or witnessed), contested probate applications (where the capacity of the willmaker is in dispute) and where the meaning of the will is unclear or in dispute.
They can also help with all aspects of estate administration, such as dealing with banks and share registries, transferring property titles, notifying organisations and beneficiaries and distributing the estate. They can manage the process from start to finish or step in as needed to handle those tasks you prefer not to.
Unfortunately not every estate is straightforward and DDCS can help when things go pear shaped. As experts in estate litigation, DDCS can help you navigate any potential disputes that may arise while dealing with the estate.
DDCS has consistently been ranked by Doyle’s Guide at the top of its field in wills and estates law in the ACT. And with Canberra’s only accredited specialist in wills & estates law, you can be confident you will be well looked after.
BDN Lawyers has provided guidance to its clients in probate and estate administration for more than 150 years.
The death of a loved one is understandably distressing and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Seeking guidance and assistance from a lawyer experienced in probate and estate administration is the best way for an executor to perform their role with confidence, and to ensure the smooth administration of the estate.
With offices in both Canberra and Queanbeyan, BDN Lawyers is uniquely suited to assist with probate and estate administration within both the ACT and NSW.
Your experience with probate services in Canberra
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