A grant of probate is usually required before assets can be distributed in accordance with a deceased person’s last Will.
The Supreme Court of NSW grants an order for probate. The grant confirms that the Will of the deceased is valid and gives the executor permission to distribute the estate as set out in the Will.
The market value of what a person owned at their death (their estate) determines the cost of applying for probate.
The estate of the deceased includes all assets solely owned by them for example, personal items, cash in bank accounts, listed shares and real estate.
When real estate is in the mix, the cost of probate can become a significant expense payable by the estate.
Probate costs can be reduced, if changes are made to asset ownership during a person’s lifetime.
Where real estate is:
(1) owned by an individual; and
(2) the individual is either married or in a de-facto relationship; and
(3) the property is the couple’s principal place of residence (their home),
the property can be transferred so the couple own the property as joint tenants.
There will be no stamp duty payable.
Joint tenancy means on the death of either spouse/partner, the property reverts to the survivor.
It will not be in the pool of assets for probate.
Bank accounts can be converted in the same way with the same result.
Executor/s pay the cost to apply for probate from estate funds.
The cost includes legal fees predetermined by legislation and Supreme Court filing fees.
The higher the cost of applying for probate, the less there is available for beneficiaries.
This article is general in nature and is not to be regarded as legal advice.