What is Probate? Do I Have to Get Probate?
You have probably heard about Probate, but many people have no idea of what it is or whether it is needed.
A Grant of Probate is a document provided by the Supreme Court in the relevant state for a deceased person.
Most people leave a Will, setting out who they wish to leave their assets after their death. A Grant of Probate is effectively the Supreme Court giving the “rubber stamp” to the will, providing certainty that it IS the last will & testament of the deceased, & confirms exactly what the assets are to be distributed. Whilst it is effectively a court case, there are no judges or juries, but it is still a procedural matter that is subject to the rules of the court.
Probate is not always required, for example if the only assets of the deceased is the home which is jointly owned by the survivor & the deceased, or if the investments are minor (eg small bank balances). Most banks will have their own rules about whether probate is required. However, if the bank balances or investments are large (eg $50,000 or more) then they will most likely require a Grant of Probate before the bank will release the funds to the estate.
The Aged Care Act states that the Accommodation Payment (or Accommodation Bond) should be repaid within 14 days of the Grant of Probate. You need to be aware that an Aged Care facility is required to pay interest on any Lump Sum Accommodation Payment (Bond) from the day after death until the date it is refunded at 3%pa (currently), so there is good argument not to hurry the repayment of the bond from an aged care facility (despite the fact that this hurts them financially).
We had a client recently whose husband died, & prior to his death transferred the home into his name only. Consequently, a Grant of Probate was required. If the home was left in joint names the Grant of Probate would not have been needed, saving the survivor some considerable expense.
We have recommenced a service helping our clients, if they are the executors of the estate, apply for the Grant of Probate & administering the will. We suggest that the wisest way to do this, is to be prepared ahead of time, ie not wait until the death to start collecting the documentation needed for the Claim for Probate. Seeing the person you care about is elderly & moving into aged care, & has to arrange their financial affairs to get the best financial outcome when moving into care, why not go one step further & get everything organised for the Grant of Probate at the same time. This saves you from having to try to get documents & details of investments at a time when you are grieving, it is just easier on you, & may save you some money as well.
Why not talk to your aged care specialist about helping you with Probate, or call our office on 1300-556287.