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How Long Does It Take To Obtain Probate?

Probate is an order made by the Supreme Court of New South Wales which authorises the executor named in the deceased’s will to legally administer the estate. Probate will be required if there are assets in the estate which require a grant of probate prior to them being released to the executor.

The following factors impact the amount of time required to obtain Probate:

How quickly can the death certificate be issued?

A funeral director will usually register the death and apply for a death certificate on behalf of the executor. If the death was referred to the coroner to determine a cause of death, this can delay the issuing of the original death certificate.

How quickly can the original Will be located?

The court will require the original will to be filed with the probate application. The following searches and enquires may need to be conducted; search of the deceased’s house and paperwork, enquiries made with the deceased’s solicitor and bank, in respect of any safety deposit box.

How quickly various asset and liability holders respond?

The details of the assets and liabilities owned by the Deceased at the date of death must be included in the probate application. When requesting these details from the asset holder, it is common practice to also request the requirements to have the assets released.

How quickly can the court process the application once it has been lodged?

The processing time can be found on the Supreme Court of New South Wales website. If the application is uncontested and relatively simple, then the current processing time is usually between 15 and 30 working days.

Whether there are any requisitions issued by the court?

In some cases, once a probate application is lodged with the Supreme Court, the court may issue a requisition or requisitions. A requisition is a request for additional information or documentation. If a requisition is issued by the court, it will take longer to obtain probate.

Whether the application for probate is contested?

If probate is contested, then usually a caveat is filed in the Supreme Court. The application may be contested on the grounds that the will is invalid. For example, if the deceased did not have capacity at the time of signing their will. Probate will not be granted until the contested application is resolved or determined by a Judge. Contested probate proceedings can involve a substantial amount of time, it can be months or years before the proceedings are determined and a grant is made.

How much time has passed between the date of death and the application being filed?

If an application is filed 6 months after the date of death, an explanation must be given to the court explaining the delay.

How complex is the application?

The court may take longer to assess a complex probate application. A more complex application may include an application where there is only a copy of the Will and the original cannot be located, or where there is an informal Will.

Before lodging an application for a grant of Probate you need to first publish a Notice of intended application for Probate on the court’s online registry. An application for Probate may be made after 14 days of publishing the notice on the court’s online registry.

It is crucial to act promptly and engage a solicitor if you are unsure as to what steps need to be taken.  If you have any questions regarding the time frame for applying for a grant of Probate, please call one of our experienced lawyers on 1300 038 223 or send us an email.

Luisa Di Bernardo

This article was written by Luisa Di Bernardo

Luisa is the Accredited Specialist in contested estates and the Melbourne team leader in the contested estates division at Armstrong Legal. Luisa is an experienced wills and estates lawyer specialising in estate litigation. She has represented clients in family provision claims, contested probates, estate administration, probate applications and superannuation death benefit challenges. Her work has taken her to Victoria, New...

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