The question ‘how long does it take to get probate?’ may eventually come up in some people’s minds. Generally, depending on whether all documents are in order, it can take up to 20 days. But there are many factors that can influence this.
The legal process for proving a deceased’s Will is known as probate. Receiving a grant of probate signifies to the Supreme Court that a Will is valid and gives the executor the signal to manage the deceased estate. Executors are the people nominated in a Will who are responsible for:
- Settling any bills that the deceased owes
- Calculating and paying inheritance tax that the deceased owes
- Pay additional taxes
- Valuation and estate distribution in accordance with the deceased person’s Will
- Probate applications
- Distribute assets to intended beneficiaries of the Will
But why does an executor need a probate application? Moreover, how long does it take to get probate? Executors apply for probate because some financial institutions and land registries hold a deceased’s property and finances. They won’t simply release property and finances easily without probate.
How Long Does It Take To Get Probate: Delaying Factors
1. The COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic that caused thousands of unanticipated deaths doubt has made the application process even more difficult and time-consuming. First of all, throughout 2021, there were lockdowns, preventing many lawyers and accountants from seeing their clients in person.
Second, the increased death toll brought on by COVID-19 has severely burdened the legal profession and the probate registry. This also makes it hard to obtain a death certificate quickly. Moreover, this has been made worse by the new online system created for probate cases, which has not been without its share of issues that have added to the delay.
2. Non-existent Will
How long does it take to get probate if there’s no Will? Simply said, a non-existent Will means that the deceased did not appoint any executor either. When a person dies without a valid Will in place, it is said that they are dying intestate. As a result, no one is appointed to obtain this for a Will. This may also leave families or friends of the deceased to apply for letters of administration to the Supreme Court.
Letters of Administration
Family members may use a letter of administration in order to administer a deceased person’s (who did not leave a Will) estate. This legal document also demonstrates that the administrator is in charge of the deceased person’s assets such as bank accounts, shares, and property. It is challenging for beneficiaries to conduct estate administration and distribute the deceased’s assets without a grant of letters of administration. The supreme court will allow the following to apply for letters of administration:
- Spouses or de facto partners of the deceased
- A child living with the deceased before they died
- People who were financially dependent on the deceased person
- Executors, whether they want to get probate, refuse to obtain it, or if they have a reasonable cause for refusing to do so.
- Creditors or people with a legal interest in the deceased’s estate
- Trustees and guardians
There is another situation where a family member or a friend of the deceased person can apply for letters of administration. In some cases, a deceased will leave a valid Will, but designated executors are unable or unwilling to obtain probate. Hence, family members or friends of the deceased will apply for probate with the Will attached.
3. Determining the Estate Assets and Liabilities
All Will-makers have estates of different sizes, and it’s fairly easy to get probate when a deceased’s estate is small or simple. However, how long does it take to get probate when the deceased’s estate is big? Well, the time to get probate for larger estates depends on the quantity and value of the estate’s assets. Moreover, the time to organise these assets for beneficiaries will greatly influence the time it takes to get probate.
4. The Entire Probate Process
How long does it take to get probate if a person misses a step or document? Missing a step or a document and lodging incorrect information may also contribute to severe and lengthy delays. Lawyers can file these documents and information to avoid any mishaps during the process. People may show the following documents to their lawyer:
- A motion for probate
- Affidavit evidence of the executor or the person applying for probate
- The original Will
- Translation of foreign documents
- The deceased’s original death certificate
- A statement of the deceased’s assets and liabilities
- Inventory of property
- The full names and current addresses of the Will’s witnesses
- Filing fees
5. Contesting and Challenging the Will if the Deceased Person
How long does it take to get probate if there are will contests and/or challenges from beneficiaries and other people? Perhaps, disagreements and disputes about a Will are one of the main causes of probate delays. Some beneficiaries may contest a Will and decide that the Will should not go to probate yet.
This is because they believe that they should receive more or maybe a different beneficiary should receive less. Some people may also challenge a Will’s validity, because there were inconsistencies in the Will or they believe that it is an informal Will. It’s important to seek legal advice from a family lawyer regarding Will contests or challenges.
How Long Does It Take To Get Probate in the Supreme Court of NSW?
The applicant must first post an online notice of their intent to apply for a grant on the New South Wales Online Registry before submitting their application. After that, they wait at least 14 days after the date of publication before submitting a probate application.
All applications must be submitted in person or by mail to the New South Wales Registry. The Will, the death certificate, and the application fee must be submitted with the application. According to the Supreme Court of New South Wales, applications are processed in five business days or less.
Obtaining Probate Faster With Our Family Law Firm
Families, friends, and executors alike would definitely want a hassle-free and effective probate process with no delays. The best thing to do is properly obtain probate and respect their loved one’s wishes and intentions. But, what else can they do?
People who want to go through with the probate and court process smoothly should reach out to JB Solicitors. Whether it’s a complex or simple estate, we can ensure that beneficiaries will get their rightful share and inheritances in a timely manner. Our team of experienced lawyers can also help with Will contests and challenges.
Contact a Wills and estate planning lawyer today.