It is a common misunderstanding that a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is necessary in every estate. By not pausing to get advice on whether or not a grant is needed, it could end up costing money that did not need to be spent.
A grant is a Supreme Court-issued document that recognises someone’s authority to administer the estate.
The three main types of non-contested grants are:
- Probate (where there is a will and the named executors are willing and able to act);
- Letters of administration on intestacy (where there is no will);
- Letters of administration with the will (where there is a will, but a person other than the named executor will manage the estate; for example, if the only named executor has pre-deceased, is incapable, or wishes to renounce).
While there are other types of grants issued for special circumstances, these three are the most common.
Is a grant required?
Sometimes in the simplest estate cases, no grant is needed, which means you can avoid the costs of making the application, particularly if there is no risk of litigation during the estate administration.
In Queensland, if the only asset of significant value is a house or other real estate, then it’s possible to have the title to the property transferred to the named beneficiaries through the land titles registry.
If you think this could apply, give us a call before assuming that a grant application (particularly for probate) is inevitable – this will avoid both unnecessary expense and wasted time.
In most non-contested estates, however, applying to the court for a grant will be necessary before any other steps can be taken. This is because most estates are made up of more assets than just one house. Banks and other institutions will often have a monetary threshold, which will determine whether they will require a grant of representation before transferring assets or funds to the personal representative. Even if only one bank or institution insists on a formal grant, then an application will be required.
If there is a risk of litigation against the estate, or if court proceedings need to be commenced on behalf of the estate, a grant should be obtained so that the personal representative has the proper authority (to make and defend court applications) and has access to the protections given to them under the relevant legislation.
If you are unsure about whether or not you need to apply for a Grant contact us by phone or email, or click here to arrange your complimentary 15 minutes call so that we can help you work that out and discuss your next steps.