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Are you in charge of distributing an estate?

Speak to Our Probate Lawyers in Melbourne Today!

If you are the executor of a will or estate and need to distribute the assets of the estate, we can help.

As experts in probate, we are here to help you do things correctly and according to the law, in order to complete the probate process smoothly and quickly and avoid the many common pitfalls that befall inexperienced executors of estates.

Probate file with stamp

Firstly, What Is Probate?

Probate is the legal process that verifies the authenticity of a will, or absence of a will, and determines the rightful distribution of the assets in a deceased person’s estate according to the laws of inheritance in Victoria.

The process typically involves a number of steps such as filing the necessary documents, inventorying the estate’s assets, appraising their value, addressing any creditor claims, and ultimately distributing the assets to the rightful beneficiaries.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Do Probate in Melbourne?

The short answer is no, you do not need a lawyer to complete the probate process in Melbourne. This is known as a Do-It-Yourself probate, or pro se probate.

However, probate can be an extremely complex process and taking on this responsibility without an expert on your side can be challenging and often results in unnecessary expenses, time delays and emotional stress that an experienced probate lawyer could have prevented.

It’s also important to consider that as an executor or administrator of an estate, you may assume personal liability for any mistakes or breaches of fiduciary duty.

This means that if errors are made during the probate process, you could be held personally responsible, potentially leading to financial losses or legal consequences.

On top of that, there are many issues that commonly arise during the probate process that, if you are not experienced, can result in long term consequences, adding significantly more expense and delaying the time it takes to complete the process by months or even years.

Common Issues That Can Arise During the Probate Process

Unfortunately, probate is usually not a simple or quick process. There are many complexities and potential issues that can arise, especially if things have not been done correctly and according to the law.

Because probate can be legally complex, especially if the deceased didn’t leave a will or if there are disputes among the beneficiaries or family members, navigating the legal requirements and understanding the probate laws and potential estate taxes can be challenging for someone without legal expertise.

If the legal requirements are not correctly followed, some issues that can occur include:

Delays in Probate Proceedings

Probate proceedings are often time consuming, especially if all the steps in the probate process are not done correctly.

Errors or omissions in the paperwork or failure to meet specific requirements can result in the probate proceedings being delayed, prolonging the time it takes to settle the estate and distribute assets to beneficiaries, sometimes by several months or even years.

Expenses & Increased Costs

Probate can be costly, involving various expenses such as court fees, lawyers fees, executor fees and appraisal fees. These costs are typically paid from the estate’s assets before distribution to beneficiaries, which may affect the final value of the inheritance.

Mistakes or misunderstandings in completing legal documents may require revisions or resubmissions, leading to additional filing and legal fees. It can also result in the challenges to the validity of the probate, resulting in additional legal proceedings adding further expenses.

Disputes Among Beneficiaries

Due to the legal complexity of probate, disagreements or disputes among beneficiaries or family members can occur regarding the distribution of assets, validity of the will or the appointed executor.

Resolving these disputes can involve litigation, further complicating the probate process and resulting in increased time delays and additional costs.

Incorrect Asset Distribution

If assets are not properly identified or their value is inaccurately determined, dissatisfaction among beneficiaries and potential disputes can arise which often require legal resolution.

Non-Compliance with Legal Obligations

Probate involves fulfilling various legal obligations, such as notifying creditors, paying debts, and addressing tax matters.

Failing to comply with these obligations can result in legal consequences and potential penalties.

It is essential to understand the legal requirements to ensure proper compliance throughout the probate process and avoid costly future issues.

Emotional Stress

Dealing with probate while grieving the loss of a loved one can be emotionally challenging. The administrative tasks, legal complexities, and potential conflicts among family members can add additional stress to an already difficult time.

Tax Obligations

Probate may involve fulfilling various tax obligations, such as filing income tax returns for the deceased person and the estate, paying any outstanding taxes and addressing potential estate tax or inheritance tax issues.

Dealing with the tax requirements can be complex and time-consuming, which can be worsened if done incorrectly, resulting in more expenses and time delays further down the line.

How Long Does Probate Typically Take In Melbourne?

The time it takes to complete the probate process varies greatly depending on many factors including the complexity of the estate, any disputes or challenges that arise and the efficiency of the parties involved.

The typical timeline of probate:

Grant of Probate

Obtaining the grant of probate is the first step to confirm the executor’s authority to distribute the estate typically takes 4-8 weeks after submitting the application to the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Inventory and Asset Valuation

After receiving the grant of probate, the executor is responsible for identifying and valuing the assets of the deceased person’s estate.

This process can take from several weeks to several months, depending on the complexity of the assets, availability of information and any required professional appraisals.

This can be greatly sped up by having an experienced probate lawyer to help guide you through the process or even take care of the process completely.

Debts and Tax Settlement

The next step is settling any outstanding debts, including funeral expenses, taxes, and other liabilities.

The time this will take depends on the complexity of the estate’s financial situation and how quickly creditors’ respond.

Resolving tax matters, including filing tax returns and settling any applicable taxes can also contribute to the timeline.

By having experience dealing with estate and inheritance taxes, an experienced probate lawyer is able to minimise the time this step in the process takes.

Distribution to Beneficiaries

Once all debts and taxes have been paid, the executor can proceed with the distribution of assets to all the beneficiaries.

The timeframe for distribution can depend on a number of factors including the number of beneficiaries, the complexity of asset transfers and potential disputes or challenges to the will. This process typically takes from several weeks to several months to complete.

Overall Timeline

Considering the factors mentioned above, the overall probate process in Melbourne typically ranges from several months to a year or more, depending on the complexity of the estate and other specific matters.

We Can Help Speed Things Up

The assistance of an experienced probate lawyer can help to significantly reduce the time it takes to complete the probate process.

Because we have been through the process so many times, we understand all the intricacies of completing the probate process efficiently, and are able to shortcut your timeline by helping you avoid common pitfalls and errors that can open your probate up to significant delays.

How Much Does Probate Cost?

Due to the nature of probate and the fact that every estate is different, the costs are largely going to depend on your particular situation.

However, costs typically range from $3000-$10,000 or more depending on the value and the complexity of the estate, and the relationship between the executor and beneficiaries, if any disputes need to be settled.

After we have taken full instructions, based on your specific requirements, we will be able to provide a fixed fee quote. Our professional fees also may be deferred until the assets are called in, so that you don’t have to pay the full fee upfront.

As experts in probate, we are able to advise you on areas where you can reduce expenses, oftentimes significantly, such as avoiding mistakes and penalties, overpaying taxes or undervaluing assets.

How Our Lawyers Can Help You With Probate

As Melbourne’s top probate experts, we are here to guide you through the entire process to ensure that you don’t have to deal with all of these issues yourself, and in many cases, avoid them entirely.

We specialise in probate and have years of experience helping people in Melbourne distribute estates in a stress-free manner that allows them to get on with their lives and prevents damaging family disputes.

This experience allows us to advise you on the correct actions to take so that you are following the law and making the best decisions possible, minimising or even eliminating the potential for the problems listed above to occur.

Our aim is to help you complete the probate process as smoothly and as quickly as possible, with as little expense as possible, just like we have helped countless other Australians do.

The Main Benefits We Provide

Probate Services We Offer

Application For Grant of Probate

We can prepare and file the application to the Supreme Court for grant of probate or Letters of Administration on your behalf.

Executor Assistance Service (Done With You)

For those wanting to do the probate process themselves. We will provide guidance on the duties of an executor if you choose to manage the administration of the estate yourself once the grant has been obtained.

Administration of Estate (Done For You)

For those who want us to handle it all. This is a full service from applying for Probate and Letters of Administration, calling in of all assets (via our trust account) to the distribution of estate assets to beneficiaries, including conveyancing on property sales and or transfers and accounting. We take care of the entire process on your behalf.

We Can Also Assist You With

Get Your Probate Matter Sorted Today

Our friendly and caring team are here to help you get your probate matter sorted, no matter how big or small. Speak to us today by clicking the button below:

Testimonials From Our Clients

Based on 37 reviews
Lisa Gledhill
Lisa Gledhill
Thank you to Lana, Sandro & the team at Campus for ensuring the purchase of my first home was smooth sailing. From reviewing the contract through to settlement the team kept me informed the entire way. I can't recommend Campus Legal highly enough!
sweet Chan
sweet Chan
Lana was fantastic to solve my deceased estate problems. She was friendly, knowledgeable and commit to her jobs which had save me a lot from all the stress. All costs reasonable, well itemised and explained. Highly recommend. Thank you, Lana
Adam Elbob
Adam Elbob
Cindy and Lana handled my property settlement and thank god I went with the team at campus lawyers. They are knowledgeable, trust worthy and willing to answer any questions. Highly recommend them !
Caroline Endigeri
Caroline Endigeri
The team at Campus Lawyers have been beyond incredible! Our initial chat was with Naina, who was extremely warm and welcoming. Lana and Sandro then assisted in looking after everything to get us ready for settlement. They made the process smoother than I could've imagined. I received constant updates, and they addressed all issues and changes promptly (damage to our property due to the floods and a name change). Highly recommend. Thank you team!
Andrea Donald
Andrea Donald
Extremely happy with the service provided. The team were very pleasant to deal with and the communication stream throughout the settlement was second to none. Thanks Sandro and team, much appreciated indeed!
Rebecca Dunchue
Rebecca Dunchue
Thank you to Lana from Campus Lawyers & Associates who went above and beyond to help me with the conveyancing. My situation was very stressful and she worked so efficiently to get the job done in time. Nothing was ever a problem and communication was excellent throughout the whole process. Would highly recommend.
Elizabeth Boland
Elizabeth Boland
Campus Lawyers took on the conveyancing for the sale of my property at short notice. Sandro and team have been professional and very helpful throughout this process. I highly recommend their services.
Brita Goodwin
Brita Goodwin
Exceptional service received by Campus Legal. I’ve used their services many times. Communication is thorough, timely and clear. Legal advice provided was well researched and I felt confident in the advice provided. I highly recommend them and will be using them for all my legal matters!! Thanks Cindy and Sandro for making things run so smoothly for us.

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