Deceased Estates / Probate
Estate law is the process of distributing a person’s assets in the terms set out in their will after they have died. The person listed in the Will as executor is the person is responsible for the deceased’s assets and liabilities being paid out and then divided to the beneficiaries.
When a person passes away and leaves a Will, in some circumstances, before the wishes of the Will can be actioned, the Will must first be proven as both validly made and must be the last Will of the person. In order to prove a Will is valid, a person must apply to the Supreme Court of Queensland and receive an Order confirming that the Will has been validly made. This process is called Applying for Probate.
While dividing up an estate may seem simple at first glance, the fact is that there is a legal process that must occur before the assets can be divided to those listed in the Will and known as beneficiaries.
Before the task of Applying for Probate is commenced, it is important to determine whether Probate is in fact even necessary. If the estate is small and has very limited assets then probate may not be required. For example, a husband dies leaving everything to his wife which involves joint funds of $5,000 held in a bank account. It may be that the bank will not require Probate to be obtained in order to release those funds to the Wife.
If you are not sure whether Probate is required or not, start with asking the bank that holds the funds. Each bank differs as to their requirements for Probate.
The process of obtaining probate is quite involved and can easily become complicated if any beneficiary takes issue with the validity of the will or disputes the amount left to them. Given the complications, it is recommended that a lawyer always prepares the application for probate.
At Queensland Law Practice we offer fixed fee probate costs so that your legal costs don’t get out of control.