Probate involves the validation and distribution of a person’s assets after they die. ‘Granting probate’ is when a Court deems a will to be valid and able to administered by an Executor. If there is no nominated Executor, the Court will appoint an Administrator.
A application for probate normally occurs where there is a requirement that needs to be fulfilled in order to distribute the assets of the will or if the will is being contested. Probate normally occurs if the deceased died owning real estate. If an estate is very small (less than $15,000) and uncomplicated, or if all assets are held as jointly, it will not be necessary to obtain probate.
What does an Executor of a Will do?
An Executor is a person who has been nominated and tasked with distributing the will of the will-maker when they die. Executors can be someone who had a personal or professional relationship with the deceased, or they can be nominated by the State Trustee and Guardian.
Being an Executor of a Will involves:
- Making funeral arrangements
- Locating the Will
- Applying to the Court for a grant of probate if necessary
- Locating and collecting the assets of the deceased
- Taking care of any debts of the deceased
- Distributing assets in accordance with the Will
Executors have strict obligations and need to make sure they have a solid understanding of their legal, taxation and accounting obligations.
What is a Probate Lawyer?
A probate lawyer practices in probate law and is specialised in applications for a grant of probate. Applications for a grant of probate are made in order to prove the existence and validity of a will after the passing of an individual. An executor of a will may apply for a grant of probate through the Supreme Court. This grant validates the document and once obtained, the assets under the will are released legally to the executor whereby the Executor will distribute them accordingly.
A probate lawyer is an expert regarding the application of probate. Probate lawyers work within the wills and estates field of law and will primarily assist Executors of a will with an application to receive a grant of probate.
Why do I need a Probate Lawyer?
If you are the executor of a will it will be beneficial to engage with a probate lawyer. A grant of probate is not always required and by employing a probate lawyer, they will be able to determine if your circumstances require their assistance. Time is also a relevant factor, for most states the timeframe to apply for a grant will be limited at 6 months to a year, a probate lawyer understands this and can efficiently send through the application with the correct details. Besides this, in some circumstances an application may be contested. In this scenario it will be crucial to employ a probate lawyer to ensure the application gives expression to true intention of the will.
What will a Probate Lawyer provide?
A probate lawyer will provide a simple, time efficient and effective application process. Using their extensive knowledge in the wills and estates field, they will provide advice regarding the application for a grant of probate and the time frames that executors should expect for a successful application.
When you submit a quote through LawPath, we’ll source you quotes from a range of expert probate law experts. All of our lawyers work on a fixed-price basis, meaning you always know how much the process will cost.
How much will a Probate Lawyer charge?
Like most wills and estate lawyers, probate lawyers will usually charge for the amount of time they spend on your application. This is subject to the detail required in the application that is usually impacted by the detail and number of assets in the will. In some circumstances, because of the standard application through the supreme court, probate lawyers will charge at a fixed-price throughout the legal processes.
LawPath only works with lawyers that provide probate application advice on a fixed-price basis. This ensures the pricing you receive is transparent and affordable. We provide our customers with a range of fixed-price quotes from our lawyer network to ensure you receive a probate lawyer at an affordable price.
Hourly rates and Court fees
The cost of a Probate Lawyer will vary based on the scope of the work. Small issues likely to be addressed quickly will cost less. For matters that will need to go court, there are additional Court fees associated with doing this, particularly as these disputes take time.
What can a Probate Lawyer legally charge?
Costs can rise very quickly, especially in litigation. However, this is sometimes hard to avoid when work is being done by a lawyer on an hourly basis. Where fixed-fees are not offered by the lawyer, you should expect to be invoiced on a monthly basis. Lawyers are required to adhere to the rules outlined in the relevant acts. For example, in NSW and Victoria, this is the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014.
Lawyers are required to provide to their clients a document called a ‘costs disclosure’ if your costs will be higher than $750.00. This document will outline how costs will be calculated in relation to your case. Also be mindful that costs are divided into ‘professional costs’ and ‘disbursements’, and you will be expected to pay for both. Professional costs are the costs of the actual work done by the lawyer, whilst disbursements cover incidentals such as court filing fees, telephone calls, photocopying charges – amongst other things.
What if I don’t agree with the costs?
You have the right to request an itemised bill that will outline how much time was spent on each task in relation to your matter, and how this adds up to the fee you’re requested to pay. If you wish to dispute the cost, you can make a complaint to the The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) and they will investigate the matter and may allocate a costs assessor. You can also take further legal action in the Courts if you feel you have been unfairly charged.