A family member or loved one has passed. You are grieving and struggling to deal with their passing. You knew you were named as a Beneficiary in the Will and you just want it all finalised so you can have closure. The Executor has told you that the Will is now in Probate. What does this mean?
Probate is the legal process that Wills must go through to be proved as the true last Will and Testament of the deceased person. Often, before an estate can be administered and assets be released by banks or other institutions, the Will must pass through Probate and be found by the Supreme Court of Queensland to be valid. The Court will then issue a certificate to the Executor of the Will.
In Queensland, obtaining Probate is a four stage process that at best will take eight to ten weeks. The practical reality is that it often takes much longer.
- Stage One – Booking Notice (minimum 1 week)
- Stage Two – Notice Period (minimum 2 weeks)
- Stage Three – Supreme Court Registry Processing (minimum 4 weeks)
- Stage Four – Perfection of the Grant (Up to 1 week)
To apply for Probate, the Executor must first give notice by publishing an advertisement. They must then confirm the death of the deceased and give evidence of the Will, as confirmed in an Affidavit. The Affidavit is then filed in the Supreme Court together with other Court Documents, the original Will and Death Certificate. If the Supreme Court is satisfied with the documentation and the Will, the Court will issue a Grant of Probate.
The Executor may not be able to deal with the estate until Probate is obtained. This can be a frustrating time for the Executor and Beneficiaries named in the Will. As a Beneficiary, you simply want what has been set aside for you in the Will. Sadly, nothing you can do will rush the process. You need to be patient and let the process take its course.
Generally, the lawyer working for the Executor can give you a fairly accurate timeframe. It’s important that you don’t get in front of yourself and make commitments before the monies come due. If issues occur, like someone decides they are contesting a Will, delays will occur. Have patience and wait for confirmation before making commitments that may leave you financially burdened.