Collect Assets - Thresholds for Probate
A good place to start an estate administration is to approach each Bank or financial institution to which the deceased held money. Once each institution is notified of a death each starts their own internal process of closing accounts for the purposes of releasing money to executors for distribution.
Each Bank will advise the executors whether or not a Grant of Probate is required before money held will be released. Given our experience with each Bank we have encountered the following thresholds before the executors will be requested to obtain a Grant of Probate:
Executors should be aware that an Estate Bank Account can be opened at any of the major banks which allows any money from the estate to be pooled. The executor/s of the Will have control of an Estate Bank Account similarly to an ordinary bank account. An Estate Bank Account presents a great way for executors to pay the final bills of the deceased using the estate money, in addition the ability to withdraw money themselves to pay inheritances from the remaining bank balance.
What does a 'Grant of Probate' include
Understanding the difference between a Grant of Probate and an Estate Administration is important.
An estate administration is the process of finalising the affairs of the deceased, for example paying last bills, closing bank accounts etc. An estate administration is not a Grant of Probate which is explained below.
Sometimes Banks and other financial institution request a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration before releasing estate money. A Grant of Probate is when the deceased had a last Will, a Grant of Letters of Administration is generally when the deceased had no Will. A Grant of Probate is a court sealed document as illustrated in the adjoining image. A Grant of Probate can be obtained through an application to the Supreme Court Registry for the court's official recognition that a Will (if applicable) is legally valid and the executors are authorised to deal with the estate.
It is common for people to confuse an estate administration, described above, with a Grant of Probate which is a document illustrated in the adjoining image.
Grant of Probate
Kingdom Lawyers welcomes executors who are attending to their own estate administration but simply require a Grant of Probate to release inheritances. Our professional costs for a Grant of Probate are as follows:
Standard Probate Application - Fixed Fee $1,600 excluding disbursements below:
- Publication of Probate Notice - Queensland Law Reporter $161.70;
- Publication of Probate Notice - Newspaper between $180 - $500;
- Supreme Court Registry Probate Filing Fee - $659.70 (Commonwealth Concession Card Holders may be eligible for a $500 discount).
The above represents total costs, inclusive of any GST.
We welcome our clients to call or email us without fee.
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You will need a copy of the Will.
Probate can be started while a Death Certificate is on its way.
We welcome you to call us or start online.
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You do not have to use our service after our complimentary review.
Just Need Probate
We supply the Grant of Probate.
You distribute the inheritances.
How long does Probate take?
Obtaining a Grant of Probate in Queensland generally takes about 8 weeks.
When is the best time to start Probate?
Once the executors are aware that a Grant of Probate is required. Obtaining a Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court Registry takes about 8 weeks. The 8 weeks commences when executors engage a lawyer to start the application.
The process of obtaining a Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court Registry commences with publishing Probate Notices in the Queensland Law Reporter and Newspaper. The Queensland Law Reporter requires bookings one week in advance before Mondays at 3pm.
Once a Grant of Probate is issued, certified copies of the Grant can be provided to Banks and other financial institutions to release money that has been frozen.
If the executors have opened an Estate Bank Account as described above any cheques made payable to the estate of the deceased can be deposited in the Estate Bank Account.
Payment of Debts
Having gained access to estate money the executors are in a better position to payout the final bills of the deceased. It is a requirement of law that the bills of a deceased are provided for prior to the payment of beneficiaries. This does not limit executors rights to attempt to negotiate a settlement payout on unsecured debts of a deceased (for example, credit cards).
Deceased Estate Property (House or Unit)
Transferring deceased estate property does not form part of a probate application. The Queensland Land Titles Office manages title records and transactions in Queensland which is a different department than the Supreme Court Registry.
Generally property can be transferred to beneficiaries or sold by the executors. Executors who intend to sell deceased estate property can cause the property to be transferred into their names as executors prior to sale, otherwise the Titles Office will requisition attempted sale transfers by the executors whilst the property is not in their name as executors.
The Queensland Land Titles Office filing fee for deceased estate transfers is $175 as at 1 July 2016. We welcome you to contact us for our professional fees for attending to a deceased estate property title transfer on your behalf.
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Notification of Death
It is a common misconception that all Government Departments are aware of a death once a Death Certificate is issued from the department of Births, Deaths & Marriages (Qld). Only a select number of Government Departments automatically receive an update to their records after a death in Queensland, the remainder rely on the executors or family of the deceased to notify them.
Executors should update Centrelink and/or Veterans' Affairs to stop any periodic payments being made otherwise a recovery action by such departments may be applicable.
Banks, Superannuation Funds, Insurance Providers and Share Registries, as applicable, will also need to be notified of a death to access benefits.
Executors should maintain records throughout the process of administrating the estate. Executors should consider preparing a detailed inventory of estate assets to evidence their dealings.
For more information about administering a deceased estate we welcome you to contact us.