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  • Writer's picturePeter Jones

What is Probate and do I need to apply for a Grant of Probate?

Updated: May 9

Depending on the deceased’s estate, a Probate application may or may not be necessary. In this blog post, Willcraft Estate Planning walks you through what you need to know about the Probate process in Perth.

What is Probate?

When someone dies, their appointed Executor may need to apply to the WA Supreme Court for a Grant of Probate through the Probate Registry (sometimes called the Probate Office). During the Probate process the WA Supreme Court ensures the Will complies with the law. This includes:

  • Verifying that the deceased is the one who made the Will

  • Reviewing the Will for ‘correctness of execution’ (i.e. that all pages are signed and witnessed and that there are no handwritten alterations and so on)

  • Confirming that the deceased had the required legal capacity at the time the Will was made

If the Will is legally sound, the WA Supreme Court issues a Grant of Probate – a Court Order that empowers the Executor to administer the deceased’s estate according to their Will. Until a Grant of Probate is issued, the Executor has no power or authority to act on behalf of the deceased.

When do you apply for Probate in WA?

A Grant of Probate may be required if, at the time of death, the deceased had a valid Will and held any of the following:

  • Assets owned solely in their name, totalling more than $15,000

  • Real estate owned solely in their name or as tenants in common (i.e. not as joint tenants where, for example, the title is transferred to the surviving spouse)

  • A Superannuation benefit that did not nominate a beneficiary

  • A share portfolio

  • Interest in a business partnership as a sole trader business

A Probate application can be filed with the WA Supreme Court from 14 days after the deceased passed away. This is also how long it usually takes to receive the Death Certificate, which you will need for the Probate process.

The WA Citizens Advice Bureau recommends receiving legal advice on what’s involved in being an Executor and preparing a Probate application – for example, from specialist Will lawyers like Willcraft.

How much does Probate cost in Perth?

The WA Supreme Court charges $370 to file a Grant of Probate application. *This cost is current as at 1 May 2019.

What do I need for a Probate application in WA?

In general, here’s what you need for a Probate application:

  • Your information:

    • Photo ID (e.g. your driver’s licence or passport)

    • Affidavit from you (i.e. a sworn statement that could be used in court if required)

  • Will-related information:

    • Death Certificate

    • Original Will

    • Executor and/or beneficiary names and details

    • Will witness names and addresses

  • Financial information:

    • Full bank account details and balances (including loan accounts and credit facilities)

    • Superannuation account details at the date of death

  • Asset information:

    • Property land titles (which Willcraft can search for, if needed)

    • Car registration papers

    • A list of major items owned by the deceased and their approximate values (e.g. furniture, jewellery, tools, trailers, boats, collectibles or personal items)

  • Debt information:

    • Any bills that were outstanding at the date of death (even if they’ve since been paid from the estate or your own money)

    • Details of any person or organisation who owed money to the deceased

    • Tax or Centrelink debts

  • Other legal information:

    • Change of name documents (i.e. regarding marriage, divorce or deed poll)

However, this isn’t an exhaustive list. Other information such as tax returns, and contact information for the deceased’s accountant or financial planner may also be required for the Executor to do their duties. It’s important to get appropriate legal advice from a specialist Will lawyer.

Who can help me with Probate in Perth?

Whether or not you’re going to apply for Probate yourself, it’s a good idea to consult with a specialist Will lawyer like those in our Willcraft team to ensure you know what you need to do.

As part of our commitment to go above and beyond for our clients, Willcraft searches the daily obituaries for our clients. If one of our clients has died, we get in touch with their Executor or joint Executors to offer our support and let them know that the original Will is in our secure storage facility.

Willcraft provides the Executor of our clients with a complimentary appointment where one of our specialist Will lawyers explains the Probate process and directs the Executor towards the next steps. We can also assist with the Probate application for a modest fixed price fee that’s:

  • Based on time rather than a percentage of the estate

  • Paid by the estate (rather than the Executor)

  • Quoted following our complimentary appointment

How do I find out more about Willcraft’s Probate and Will services?

For assistance with Probate, Will preparation and Estate Planning, contact Willcraft by filling in our online form or giving us a call.

We’ll talk through your specific needs and circumstances, and the different options available to you. If you have a Will we can review it to ensure it is valid and identify any oversights.

Our  Legal Practice Director has also created a whole series of fact sheets. They cover a variety of important things to keep in mind when you make a Will or apply for Probate, as well as the different types of Estate Planning and Will services that we offer in Perth.

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