FAQs

Probate

A Grant of Probate is a document issued by the Supreme Court of Western Australia confirming an executor’s authority to deal with the affairs of a deceased person.

It gives the executor authority to collect the assets and administer the estate according to the terms of the Will.

In most cases we can prepare your application and arrange for you to sign it on the spot at your consultation. It will then take the Supreme Court of Western Australia 6 – 8 weeks to review your application and issue a Grant.

Please bring the documents and information listed on the relevant checklist.

An applicant for a grant of Probate must provide a statement of the deceased’s assets and liabilities as at the date of their death. The statement must include all real estate in Western Australia and all movable property and debts, whether in Western Australia or elsewhere.

Any property the deceased owned as a joint tenant with another person who survived them does not form part of their estate, rather it passes to the surviving joint tenant by survivorship.

Download our checklist to help you collate the information you need.

If the executor renounces their right to obtain a Grant of Probate, the substitute executor named in the Will is entitled to make an application. If there is no substitute executor, one or more of the beneficiaries of the estate may make an application for Letters of Administration with the Will annexed

If you are unable to find the original Will, you will need to produce evidence to satisfy the Court that the Willmaker did not destroy the Will with the intention to revoke it.

Book a consultation to get started.

As a general rule, the answer is yes – executors and administrators can charge their reasonable legal costs to the estate. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances, but would generally include the costs of making an application for Probate or Letters of Administration.

Our advertised fees are for straightforward applications prepared on the spot during your consultation. They don’t include the Supreme Court of Western Australia filing fee. If your application is not straightforward or if you require additional legal advice or assistance we will give you a quote for our services. For full terms see our Product Disclosure Statement.

Letters of Administration

A Grant of Letters of Administration is a document issued by the Court authorising a person to administer the estate of person who died intestate (without leaving a valid Will).

The Grant authorises the person (known as the administrator) to administer the estate by collecting the assets, paying liabilities and distributing the estate in accordance with the laws of intestacy.

Any one or more of the adult beneficiaries of the estate (as set out in the Administration Act 1903 (WA)) can apply for a grant of Letters of Administration of an intestate estate.

The applicant must seek written consent from any adult beneficiary of the estate.

If there is no adult beneficiary who is able to apply, another person may be entitled. Book a consultation for advice about your specific circumstances.

In most cases we can prepare your application and arrange for you to sign it on the spot at your consultation. It will then take the Supreme Court of Western Australia 6 – 8 weeks to review your application and issue a Grant.

Please bring the documents and information listed on the relevant checklist.

An applicant for a grant of Letters of Administration must provide a statement of the deceased’s assets and liabilities as at the date of their death. The statement must include all real estate in Western Australia and all movable property and debts, whether in Western Australia or elsewhere.

Any property the deceased owned as a joint tenant with another person who survived them does not form part of their estate, rather it passes to the surviving joint tenant by survivorship.

Download our checklist to help you collate the information you need.

As a general rule, the answer is yes – executors and administrators can charge their reasonable legal costs to the estate. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances, but would generally include the costs of making an application for Probate or Letters of Administration.

Our advertised fees are for straightforward applications prepared on the spot during your consultation. They don’t include the Supreme Court of Western Australia filing fee. If your application is not straightforward or if you require additional legal advice or assistance we will give you a quote for our services. For full terms see our Product Disclosure Statement.

Estate administration

As a general rule, the answer is yes – executors and administrators can charge their reasonable legal costs to the estate. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances, but would generally include the costs of making an application for Probate or Letters of Administration.

Property transfers

Before real estate can be sold it must first be transferred to the name of the executor or administrator of the estate. 

There are three steps involved:

  1. The executor or administrator must obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration from the Supreme Court of Western Australia. Landgate will not allow any property to be transferred without a Grant.
  2. The property must be transferred to the estate, known as an Application by Personal Representative or a transmission application.  
  3. Finally, the property can be transferred to the beneficiary or, in the case of a sale, to the buyer.

A survivorship application is an application to Landgate by a surviving joint tenant of property to remove the name of a deceased person from the certificate of title.  

A transmission application is an application to Landgate by an executor or administrator to transfer property from a deceased person to their estate.

A transmission application must be completed before the property can be sold or transferred to a beneficiary.

As a general rule, the answer is yes – executors and administrators can charge their reasonable legal costs to the estate. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances, but would generally include the costs of transmission applications, transfer to beneficiaries and settlement fees.

Inheritance disputes

You may be able to challenge a Will if you have one of the following relationships with the testator:

  • married or de facto partner immediately before the testator’s death;
  • a former spouse or former de facto partner if you received or were entitled to receive maintenance from the testator;
  • a child;
  • a grandchild or step-child (in certain circumstances); and
  • a parent or step-parent.

The Court will first consider whether the testator has made an adequate provision for you in your particular circumstances. This includes consideration of:

  • your financial position, level of education and age;
  • the provision made for you in the Will (if any);
  • the relationship the testator had with you and the other beneficiaries;
  • the value and nature of the estate;
  • any contribution you have made to the testator’s assets;
  • the needs of other family members; and
  • any conduct that you have engaged in that may disentitle you to a share of the estate.

If the Court finds that an adequate provision has not been made for you, it will effectively re-write the Will so that it reflects what a wise and just testator would have done.

If you intend to challenge a Will, time is of the essence. You must apply within 6 months from the date of any grant of Probate or Letters of Administration (although the Court has a discretion to extend the deadline).

A beneficiary of a challenged Will does not need to actively participate in the proceedings. However, if the Court upholds the challenge, the amount you will receive under the Will may be reduced. For this reason, you may want to present your financial and personal circumstances to the Court to persuade it not to reduce your entitlement.

As an executor, you will need to be actively involved in the court proceedings. Your role is two-fold: to provide information regarding the value and nature of the estate and to defend the existing Will. In most cases, an executor will be entitled to have their legal costs paid from the estate, irrespective of the outcome of the proceedings.

Our plain-English guide How to manage a deceased estate has practical advice to help you to take charge and finalise the estate.