You may need to obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration because some people or organisations holding assets of the deceased estate will not release them without sighting a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

Below are listed some common types of property.  Depending upon the circumstances, you may not require a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

Accommodation bonds

In WA, generally a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration will be required before an accommodation bond will be paid to the deceased estate.  Each aged care facility have their own policies, so its best to contact them first.

Bank accounts

Bank accounts held jointly with another person do not form a part of the deceased estate.  The joint account holder is entitled to transfer the funds to another bank account.

For a bank account of the deceased which was in their sole name, each bank has their own policies in relation to deceased estates.  Contact the bank first, as you may not need a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

Boats

In WA, the ownership of boats may only be transferred by the Department of Transport from the deceased estate once the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration has been completed.

Cars and trailers

In WA, the ownership of cars and trailers can be transferred by the Department of Transport from the deceased estate without the need for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.  A statutory declaration form must be completed.

Firearms (eg. guns)

In relation to guns, its best to check with the police as there may be different issues for licensed and unlicensed guns and the legal requirements may vary between each State and Territory.

Houses and land – Joint tenants

In WA, if a house or land was owned as “joint tenants”, the property may be transferred by Landgate from the deceased estate into the name of the other joint tenant without the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

Houses and land – Tenants in common

In WA, if a house or land was owned as “tenants in common”, the property may only be transferred by Landgate from the deceased estate into the name of another person once the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration has been completed.

Legal proceedings

If the deceased was a party to legal proceedings at the time of death, it will depend upon the type of case whether the proceedings are unable to be continued by the deceased estate.  You should obtain legal advice.

Life insurance

Life insurance payments may not form a part of the deceased estate.  If there are stipulated beneficiaries under the life insurance policy, the payments may go directly to the beneficiaries and therefore these moneys do not form a part of the deceased estate.

Shares

In relation to shares, generally shares can be transferred from the deceased estate to a beneficiary of the will without the need for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.  Contact the company’s share registry or check the share registry website for a form to transfer shares from a deceased estate.

Superannuation

A deceased person’s superannuation death benefits will only form a part of the deceased estate if:

  1. the deceased person has signed a valid binding death benefit nomination which directs the trustee of the superannuation fund to pay the death benefit to the Executor / Executrix; or
  2. if there is not a valid binding death benefit nomination, the trustee of the superannuation fund exercises their discretion to pay the death benefits directly to one or more of the deceased person’s dependants.

Tax debts

Depending upon the circumstances, it may not be necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.  The Australian Taxation Office may allow you to finalise the tax affairs of the deceased once you have obtained the death certificate.

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.