Probate Registry (Qld)
The Probate Registry is an office of the Supreme Court that is a repository of all applications for probate in Queensland. The Probate Registry processes applications for Grants of Probate, Letters of Administration (With A Will), Letters of Administration (Without A Will) and Reseals Of A Grant Of Probate. This article outlines the circumstances that warrant each of these probate grants and the essential role that the Probate Registry plays in the administration of deceased estates in Queensland.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the process of legally verifying a testator’s will as true and valid and expressive of the testator’s wishes. The Probate Registry will only grant probate for the estates of deceased who lived in QLD before their death, or for deceased persons who owned property in QLD.
What Is A Probate Registry?
The Supreme Court of QLD has sole legal authority over the administration of deceased estates in QLD. The Probate Registry is the division of the court that reviews applications for probate and holds records of these applications in accordance with the Succession Act 1981. The Probate Registry makes orders for four types of grants, which are:
- Grants of Probate, issued to a named executor to verify a valid will
- Grants of Letters of Administration With Will, issued to an eligible party other than an executor to verify a valid will
- Grants of Letters of Administration – No Will, issued to an eligible party to administrate an intestate estate.
- Reseal of a Foreign Grant, issued to authenticate a foreign grant in a new jurisdiction.
How To Apply to the Probate Registry
The process of applying to the Probate Registry can be complicated, but Armstrong Legal can help prepare the paperwork. The first step is to check that someone else has not already been issued an authorising Grant. When an executor applies to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate, any other named executor needs to be a signatory to the application or justification for the omission needs to be included in the form of a supporting affidavit. All submitted documents must be typewritten and abide by the established documentary rules. There are five steps involved in applying to the Probate Registry:
- Advertise the representative’s intent to apply in the Queensland Law Reporter (QLR), according to the guidelines outlined in Form 103 – Notice Of Intention To Apply For Grant
- Submit a copy of the Notice to the Queensland Public Trustee either via mail, electronically or in person. The applicant must wait seven days after receipt before filing an application.
- Allow 14 clear days after the appearance of the Notice in the QLR to provide an opportunity for people to raise an objection to the application or file a probate caveat. If the challenge is justified, then no grant will be issued until the claim is resolved. In this circumstance, the Registrar will send notice to the applicant and claimant asking for supporting evidence of the applicant’s right to be issued a grant and the claimant’s right to object.
- Prepare the necessary documents for the application for probate grant to comply with the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999.
- Make an application with supporting documentation to the Probate Registry either in person or by post. The current fees for lodging an application can be found here.
In Queensland, an application is typically processed within six weeks. If there are problems with the application there will be further delays as the Probate Registry issues a notice of “requisition” asking for further clarification. A probate application will not be granted until the queries in the requisition are answered by an affidavit. This affidavit should only reference those matters raised by the requisition: there is no need to reiterate the information contained in the application. The applicant cannot ask for further clarification from the Registrar and their staff. If the applicant requires guidance they should consult a solicitor.
When Is It Unnecessary To Apply?
The solicitors at Armstrong Legal can help you respond to a requisition, and advise you on the type of grant that is appropriate in your particular circumstances. They can even help you work out whether it is necessary to apply to the Probate Registry at all. If the estate is small enough, the asset-holding financial institutions will typically not require a grant to release assets. In this case, the personal representative will need to indemnify the asset holder against legal claims from creditors and beneficiaries. A deceased estate may have a small monetary value because the deceased owned their valuable assets jointly with another person who inherited the deceased portion upon their death.
The specialist team at Armstrong Legal has extensive experience with applying to the Probate Registry in Queensland. If you need advice about the process, or succession and probate law more broadly, please make an appointment with our friendly team or call our office on 1300 038 223.