When can I obtain a Grant of Probate?

If the deceased person died leaving a valid will and assets in WA, you most likely will need to apply for a Grant of Probate in WA to administer the deceased estate.

Probate is the process of registering a deceased person’s will in the Supreme Court so the named Executor / Executrix under the will can deal with the deceased person’s assets (eg. property, bank accounts and shares) and administer them according to the will (or otherwise pursuant to a Deed of Family Arrangement).

When can I apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration?

If the deceased person did not leave a will, a will cannot be located or the will is deemed to be invalid (eg. The will was not executed correctly or the deceased remarried or divorced after making the will) and they left assets in WA, you will most likely need to obtain a Grant of Letters of Administration in WA.  The distribution of the property of the deceased estate is determined by the Administration Act 1903.

What if the will was not signed and witnessed?

A document which is not signed and witnessed which is intended to be a deceased person’s will may be admitted to probate, even though the document does not conform to the requirements under the Wills Act 1970.  The fact that the document is not signed is however one circumstance which enlivens the power of the Supreme Court to make a determination that the document does constitute a valid will.

The important question will be whether on a balance of probabilities the deceased person intended a document purporting to embody his or her testamentary intentions to constitute his or her will.  If the will is held to be valid, a Grant of Probate may be made, whereas if the will is invalid, a Grant of Letters of Administration may be made.

There are numerous cases where a will has been found to be invalid even though the deceased person gave instructions to a lawyer to prepare a will.

Does an unsigned and unwitnessed document automatically revoke an earlier will if it is held to be a valid will?

No.  Depending upon the circumstances, a document may both revoke an earlier will and also be invalid as a new will of the deceased person.

Need assistance with a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration?

The team of experts at Robson Hayes Legal can prepare the Court documents necessary for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.  Call Robson Hayes Legal on (08) 6181 0790 or email us at contactus@probatewa.lawyer to discuss your probate and deceased estate issues.