When a person dies they often leave behind property, assets and debts that need to be managed and finalised. This is often referred to as a deceased person's 'estate'. Where a valid will exists the estate will usually be finalised by the executor named in the will. If there is no valid will then the deceased's closest next of kin will usually be responsible for finalising the estate, and may be appointed administrator of the estate.
The executor or administrator must make sure any debts are paid and that any remaining assets are distributed according to the deceased's wishes (where there is a will) or the laws of intestacy (where there is no will). You can find more information on our website about applying for probate or administration as well as the work of the Probate Office.
What is probate or letters of administration?
Grants of probate and letters of administration are collectively referred to as grants of representation. A grant of representation gives a person the legal right to administer the estate of a deceased person.
Probate is a legal document that certifies that a will is valid and can be acted upon. Letters of administration are issued where the deceased has left no valid will.
Visit our page about grants of probate and administration of deceased estates for more information, and to find out when probate or administration may be required.
What does the Probate Office do?
- validity of wills
- appointment of an executor or administrator of a deceased estate, and
- administration of deceased estates.
The Probate Office deals with all applications for grants of probate and administration, and maintains a register of all grants issued by the Court and all wills deposited with the Court for safekeeping.
The Probate Office can give you general information about making an application for probate or administration, but we cannot advise you on how to administer an estate. For more information on your legal rights, responsibilities and options we encourage you to talk to a solicitor to obtain specific advice regarding your situation.
We can help you with general information on:
Probate information for legal practitioners
We also have a section of information for legal practitioners on probate matters including information about:
- Acts, Rules and Regulations
- Guidance on unusual applications
Contacting the Probate Office
If you have general enquiries about our practice and procedures we may be able to assist. However, the role of the Probate Office ends when a grant has issued, and we cannot advise you how to administer the estate. If you have questions about this we recommend you seek legal advice.
The Probate Office is open between the hours of 9:30am and 4pm Monday to Friday (excl. public holidays).
We are located at Level 2, 436 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.