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Wills & Estates Law | Probate

Understanding the Probate Process in NSW, Australia

When a loved one passes away, handling their estate can seem daunting. In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, the probate process is a crucial step in managing the deceased’s assets according to their will. Our firm has considerable experience helping people navigate this challenging time.

What is Probate?

Probate is a legal process that confirms a will’s validity and gives the executor the authority to distribute the deceased’s assets as specified in the will. It involves proving that the will presented to the court is the last will made by the deceased and that it complies with NSW legal standards.

Who Needs Probate?

Probate may be necessary when the deceased has left significant assets such as real estate, large bank balances, or shares that were solely in their name. If assets were owned jointly, they can transfer directly to the surviving owners and can sometimes avoid the need for probate.

The Steps Involved in the Probate Process

  1. Locate the Will: The first step is finding the deceased’s will, typically held by their solicitor, a bank, or left with a trusted family member.
  2. Application Preparation: The executor named in the will needs to prepare an application for Probate. This includes an inventory of the deceased’s assets and liabilities, the original will, and a death certificate.
  3. Notice of Intention to Apply: Before filing the application, the executor must publish a notice of their intention to apply for Probate on the NSW Online Registry. This allows anyone with a claim against the estate or who objects to the will to come forward.
  4. Filing the Application: The application is filed in the Supreme Court of NSW. The court examines the documents to ensure they meet legal standards and the will is valid.
  5. Grant of Probate: If the court is satisfied, it issues a Grant of Probate. This legal document authorizes the executor to manage and distribute the estate’s assets.
  6. Administering the Estate: With the Grant of Probate, the executor can proceed to pay the deceased’s debts and distribute the remaining assets among the beneficiaries as outlined in the will.
  7. Finalization: Once debts and taxes are settled and assets distributed, the executor can finalize the estate, often culminating in a final account of their administration submitted to the beneficiaries for approval.


The probate process in NSW is designed to ensure that the distribution of a deceased person’s assets is handled with care and according to their final wishes. While it can be complex, understanding these steps helps simplify the execution of one’s responsibilities as an executor. Our firm can help you prepare and resolve any of your probate disputes and help you navigate the process during a very challenging time.

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