How to apply for Probate in Perth

Probate, wills

People often ask me how to apply for Probate in Perth. If you have never previously administered an estate before, then it will be helpful to know exactly what is involved.

What is Probate?

First, let’s deal with the basics. Probate is a document issued by the Court which authorises you, as the executor of the will, to administer the deceased’s property in the manner set out in the will. In Western Australia, an application for Probate is made to the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

Why is Probate needed?

Probate is required before you can carry out certain tasks, such as:

  • opening up a bank account in the name of the estate;
  • selling the deceased’s real property or transferring it into the name of a beneficiary; and
  • dealing with the deceased’s investment accounts, including listed shares, managed funds and bank accounts (unless the value is minimal).

Is Probate always necessary?

Probate may not be needed in all cases (eg where the deceased died without leaving any assets). If in doubt, check with us or another solicitor.

Before you apply

Before you apply, it is important that you:

  • locate the deceased’s original will and death certificate;
  • know the value of the deceased’s assets and liabilities as at the date of death. In this regard, it will usually be necessary to write to all relevant banks, share registries etc to ascertain these values.

The application

Once the above steps have been taken, then then an application for probate can be made.

If the validity of the will is not in doubt, then the application can be made in common form (the most usual type of application). The application must be supported by an affidavit – essentially to satisfy the Court that the will is valid. The affidavit must also include a Statement of Assets and Liabilities.

An application in common form is dealt with ‘on the papers’. In other words, there is generally no need for the parties to appear in person.

Contested probate applications

Sometimes, however, the application may not be so simple. If the validity of the will is in doubt, then the executor will need to prove the will in “solemn form”.In this case, the parties will be required to attend the Court to give evidence on the matter.

The validity of the will may be doubtful where, for example:

  • the original will is lost;
  • the deceased’s mental capacity was questionable at the time the will was signed;
  • the will was signed under duress; or
  • the deceased made an informal testamentary document after making the will.

Executor assist

Forty Seven Legal provides a comprehensive executor assist service. Please contact us if you require legal assistance.