What should be included in a Statement of Assets and Liabilities?
You must provide information about all assets and liabilities as at the date of death, including all moveable property (that is, assets other than real property) located interstate and overseas.
Assets include property, house contents, money in bank accounts, investments, motorized vehicles, and other possessions. Liabilities include legal expenses, tax, mortgages, or other debts existing at the date of death.
In situations where the deceased owned real property in either another state or country, it will be necessary to apply either for a reseal of the Western Australian grant or a new grant in that other country.
Frequently Asked Questions
How soon can I apply for probate?
No application can be made within two weeks of a person’s death. However, it usually takes two weeks or more to obtain a death certificate and no application can be filed without one anyway.
How do I get a death certificate if it is subject to a coronial inquiry?
An interim death certificate will be issued by the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages that will state the cause of death as ‘subject to coronial inquiry’. The interim death certificate is sufficient proof of death to enable an application to be made.
Must an application for probate be filed within a certain time?
Applications are supposed to be filed within 8 weeks of a person’s death. However, this rule is not enforced by any government body- applications are commonly filed much later (sometimes years later). It is up to the beneficiaries named in the will to take action if they feel that an application has not been filed timeously and the executor is ‘dragging their feet’.
How long does it take to get probate?
Once the court receives a Grant of Probate application, it generally takes 4 to 8 weeks to process the application. However, if there are any difficulties with the application, the Court may issue a ‘Requisition Notice’ asking for more information referring to the probate application and this will also delay matters.
What is a requisition?
A requisition is a request issued by the probate office for further information or clarification of information provided in the application for probate that was lodged.
Common requisitions relate to issues such as:
– whether the Deceased has testamentary capacity when they made the will (this commonly occurs if the death certificate mentions that the deceased suffered from ‘dementia’ or Alzheimer’s disease that commenced before or after the will was made);
– current addresses of the witnesses to the will and what attempts have been made to find them;
– inadequate description of assets and liabilities (for example, bank account details not provided);
– not ‘clearing off’ an ‘institute executor’ (the first person named as the executor in the will). A common situation is where the Deceased appoints their spouse as the executor ‘if they survive me’ and if not, appoint one or more of their children. If the spouse did die before the Deceased it is necessary to state this in the affidavit in support of the application.
– in the case of intestacy, it is necessary to explain the family tree to show who the persons are who are entitled in the estate. This is easy enough if there is a spouse and children but in other situations (for example where the only persons entitled are siblings) it is necessary to state who the parents of the deceased were, what children each of those parents had (there might be children from earlier or subsequent marriages) as half-siblings are treated as siblings for the purposes of being entitled in the estate.
How long should it take to finalise an estate.
It is generally expected that an estate is administered within twelve months of a person’s death (this is known as ‘the Executor’s year’). However, it may take much longer to deal with an estate depending upon what is involved. An Executor should generally speaking keep beneficiaries informed as to what is going on as this will often serve to prevent any misunderstandings as to the reasons for any delay.