Probate is an order of the High Court to confirm the last valid Will of the deceased, and also the executor’s right to administer the estate (grant of administration).

Probate must be applied for unless the deceased’s only assets are financial assets that don’t exceed $15,000 at any one institution. The application for probate must be made to the High Court, in a very specific format, with equally specific information requirements. If the forms don’t comply with the rules, the Registrar of the Court will reject them, which will cause delays in the administration of the estate. It’s not the time for do-it-yourself and it’s therefore usual for the estate’s lawyer to prepare these documents.

Until probate is granted, the estate goes into a sort of holding pattern where nothing much can happen, except making some preparations for, say, the deceased’s home to be sold.

Probate is now granted quite quickly – usually between four to eight weeks after the documents have been lodged at the High Court.