What Is Probate In NSW?
Probate is a court-ordered process that confirms the validity of a deceased person’s will and appoints an executor to administer their estate. The executor is responsible for collecting and distributing the deceased person’s assets to their beneficiaries, paying any debts and distributing any gifts specified in the will.
The Probate Process In NSW
The probate process in New South Wales typically involves the following steps:
- The executor files an application for a grant of probate with the Supreme Court of New South Wales
- The court reviews the application and confirms the validity of the will
- The court issues a grant of probate, which gives the executor the authority to administer the estate
- The executor gathers and values the deceased person’s assets, pays any debts and taxes and distributes the remaining assets to the beneficiaries
How Long Does Probate Take In NSW?
The length of time it takes to complete the probate process in New South Wales can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the estate, the availability of assets and the promptness of the executor in carrying out their duties. On average, the probate process can take anywhere from several months to over a year.
Factors That Affect Probate Time In NSW
If you are at the beginning of the estate administration process, it”s helpful to be prepared for delays. These are commonly caused by:
- Disputes over the will: When there are disagreements about the validity of a will, it can cause significant delays in the probate process. These disputes can be complex and time-consuming to resolve, which can extend the length of time it takes to obtain a grant of probate and distribute the assets of the deceased person
- Problems locating beneficiaries: If a beneficiary cannot be located, the probate process will be delayed until the beneficiary is found or declared missing. This can be a challenging and time-consuming process, especially if the beneficiary is living overseas
- Need to sell assets: If the estate of the deceased person includes assets that need to be sold in order to pay debts, this can also cause delays in the probate process. The sale of real estate, for example, can take several months to complete and the sale proceeds must be distributed before the probate process can be concluded
- Complex estate planning: If the deceased person had a complex estate plan in place, this could also result in delays in the probate process. For example, if the estate includes trusts, partnerships, or other entities, it can take longer to sort out the details and distribute the assets according to the will
- Contested probate: If someone challenges the validity of the will or contests the appointment of the executor, this can also cause delays in the probate process. These challenges must be resolved before the probate process can proceed
- Tax considerations: If the estate is subject to inheritance or estate taxes, this can also result in delays in the probate process. The executor must ensure that all tax obligations are satisfied before the assets of the estate can be distributed to the beneficiaries
Seek A Trusted Advisor
If you’re dealing with the administration of an estate in the Hunter Valley, including Maitland, Newcastle, Cessnock, Lochinvar, Raymond Terrace, or Chisholm, we’re here to help. Our Wills & Estate Lawyers have extensive expertise in probate law and provide the highest level of service to our clients.
We will work with you to ensure the probate process is handled efficiently and effectively and the assets of the estate are distributed in accordance with the will. Contact us at Hills Solicitors today on (02) 4933 5111 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help.