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Do I really NEED a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration? Why? And What are the Benefits?

So you know what probate is (and if you don’t, see our article “What is Probate” here).
The next question usually is, “Do I need a grant of probate?”

There’s no “one size fits all” answer to this question, as it depends on various estate matters.  Queensland is unique among Australian succession law; in that it does not mandate that every estate be issued with a grant of probate or letters of administration (unsure what “letters of administration” are?  See our explanation in this article).

The questions that are relevant to working out if you need a grant of probate include the following issues:

  • Where are the deceased person’s assets located?
    • In Queensland only, throughout Australia, or all over the world?
  • How much money is held in the deceased’s bank accounts?
    • Generally, banks will insist that an executor obtain a grant of probate to verify their authority to act on behalf of the estate where the total value of accounts exceeds $50,000 – but this amount can vary from bank to bank, or may depend on other circumstances.
  • Are there any shareholdings?
    • Generally, for an executor to deal with shareholdings, a grant of probate is required where the value of any one shareholding exceeds $15,000. Other considerations also apply, such as where the shareholdings are based.
  • Is there superannuation, and is it to be paid to the estate?
    • Often superannuation forms a large asset, and it may be paid into a deceased person’s estate. Where this happens, many superannuation funds insist that probate be obtained in order to verify they pay the superannuation benefits to the authorised estate representative.

If you’re the executor of an estate or need letters of administration (including for an intestacy), please contact us to see how we can assist you.  We can assist in the administration of the estate, whether or not a grant of probate is required, and providing guidance and assistance to ensure you with peace of mind at this often-confusing time.

Depending on the circumstances, we may even be able to assist you on a delayed payment basis, where we cover the costs of applying for a grant in the first instance, and only request payment once the grant has been issued – and so that invoice can be paid by the estate, and you are not out of pocket for any legal costs.

Written by Thomas Ashton – Senior Associate

This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising from this publication, please let us know.

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