Grant of Probate In Tasmania

When a loved one passes away in Tasmania, there are certain steps that should be followed to administer their deceased estate. In some cases, it is necessary to seek a grant of probate to verify a will and authorise an executor to administer the estate. This article explains the process of applying for a grant of probate in Tasmania.

Deceased Estates

After a person dies, their deceased estate is administered by their personal representative. This role can be filled by either an “executor” or an “administrator”. A will-maker appoints an executor in their will to be their personal representative. Under the Administration and Probate Act 1935, an executor administers the estate, ensures that any debts are paid and distributes the remaining assets to the rightful heirs. Otherwise, the Supreme Court appoints an administrator when the appointed executor is unable to act, or the deceased died intestate (without a will).

What Is Probate In Tasmania?

An executor can apply to the Supreme Court of Tasmania for probate to validate a deceased person’s will. This legal process also conveys to the executor the authority to represent the estate in legal and financial matters. A Grant of Probate is the Supreme Court’s official recognition that the will is valid and that the executor is responsible for the deceased estate. Probate in Tasmania is governed by the Probate Rules 2017.

When Is Probate Necessary?

Probate is necessary if the deceased left behind complicated testamentary instructions, an estate with a number of large assets, or there is a high likelihood that someone will challenge or contest the will. The other reason to obtain probate is if the deceased owned certain classes of assets. For instance, where the deceased held a large share portfolio, the trading platform often requires a grant of probate before they will pass over the shares. Similarly, when a bank account is held solely in the deceased’s name, the bank may ask for a probate grant before it releases the funds to the executor. This is typically only necessary for accounts holding larger sums of money. Each financial institution has its own policy relating to deceased estates. Many banks do not require a Grant of Probate to release small amounts of money. In that case, the bank may agree to transfer the funds upon receipt of a copy of the death certificate and the deceased’s will.

A Grant of Probate is usually required before a deceased’s real estate can be transferred to another person. There are exceptions if the deceased owned their property jointly with another owner. In that case, ownership of the property transfers automatically to the other owner and there is no need to secure a grant of probate.

Generally speaking, it is not necessary to obtain a grant of probate in order to make a standard life insurance or superannuation claim. These policies are typically not included in a deceased estate as the policyholder usually nominates a person to receive the funds through a binding death benefit. Sometimes the policy itself stipulates who can receive the benefit (for example, the policy may dictate who is considered the policyholder’s next-of-kin). Occasionally, higher value policies and more complicated claims do require the executor to have a grant of probate to clear up the order of distribution.

Applying For A Grant Of Probate In Tasmania

An executor must file a Grant of Probate in Tasmania in person or by mail as soon as possible following the testator’s death, and generally within six months. The Supreme Court may allow a later application if there is a reasonable explanation for the delay.

Applicants can download the necessary forms from the Supreme Court Registry website. The following documents are required when submitting a Grant of Probate application in Tasmania:

  • Notice of intention to apply for a grant or reseal of a grant (Form 2);
  • Application for grant or reseal of a grant (Form 4);
  • Affidavit in support of application for probate (Form 5);
  • Inventory of assets and liabilities (Form 10);
  • Original will and testament; and the
  • Original death certificate.

The court only issues a Grant of Probate once a fortnight has passed since the applicant published the Notice of Intention to Apply. There are costs associated with a Grant of Probate application in Tasmania that can be accessed here. There are general fees such as a Standard Provisional Assessment of Application Documentation by the Registrar and additional fees that vary according to the estate’s gross value.

Processing times vary, but applicants should expect to receive a Grant of Probate within 18 weeks. If there are any omissions or mistakes in the application, the applicant will receive a written request (called a “requisition”) from the court explaining the issue and advising how the applicant can rectify the problem. There is a requisition fee attached to this process. Applicants need to follow the application instructions carefully as an incorrectly filed submission will cause unnecessary delay.

Please contact Go To Court if you have any questions about applying for a grant of probate in Tasmania. Call 1300 636 846 today for experienced legal advice or representation.

Author

Nicola Bowes

Dr Nicola Bowes holds a Bachelor of Arts with first-class honours from the University of Tasmania, a Bachelor of Laws with first-class honours from the Queensland University of Technology, and a PhD from The University of Queensland. After a decade of working in higher education, Nicola joined Armstrong Legal in 2020.
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