Assets in the deceased estate

Real Estate

The Land Titles Offices in all States and Territories will always require a Grant of Probate if the home or land to be distributed under the will is in the deceased’s name only. The exception is Queensland where the Land Titles Office may accept, in some circumstances, a copy of the will and death certificate.  If the deceased person owns land as a joint tenant, probate will not be required as the property will automatically revert to the other person (for example, the spouse of the deceased).  Transfer of the title from joint names, or solely in the name of the deceased, into the name(s) of the beneficiaries will be required.

Bank and Building Society Accounts

Financial institutions have varying rules which will allow access to the deceased’s accounts without a Grant of Probate if the estate is small.  We recommend that you make an enquiry of the financial institution regarding any accounts containing any more than $10,000.  The general cut-off is commonly $15,000 but this will vary from institution to institution.  Draft letters are provided at the back of the kit.

Cars and caravans

The Roads and Traffic Authority, or your State equivalent, will not require a Grant of Probate but will need sight of a certified copy of the death certificate, a copy of the will, a letter from the executor, proof of identity, the certificate of registration and the completed application for transfer to transfer the registration of the deceased’s vehicle.

Shares and managed funds

In our experience, if shares are held in an account in the sole name of the deceased and valued at over $2000, the Grant of Probate will generally be required to release the shares for distribution by the executor.

The executor should contact either the share registry of the company concerned or could alternatively contact Computershare Investor Services on 1300 855 080 to ascertain the number and value of shares held and whether the Grant of Probate is required for distribution.

Insurance policies and superanuation funds

You will need to contact the institution concerned and enquire whether they require the Grant of Probate to release the funds to the executor for distribution.  Some types of policy will include provision for a named beneficiary in the event of the death of the policy holder and may therefore not be covered by the will. In most cases, the trustee of the fund will have the discretion to release the funds to directly to the named beneficiaries or releaswe the funds to "the estate" in which case they are subject to the distribution set out in the will.

Nursing home accommodation bonds

In almost all cases, nursing homes that hold accommodation bonds will require a grant of probate or grant of letters of administration before releasing the bond to the executors. In many cases, the nursing home may transfer the bond to an account of the deceased, e.g. “The Estate of Jane Smith” an account already quarantined by the deceased’s bank.

See other pages about probate: NSW probate, VIC probate, QLD probate, SA probate. WA probate, TAS probate, ACT probate, NT probate.