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Information to consider prior to starting a Wills and Deceased Estates proceeding

Important information

This guide contains general information only and is not intended to be legal advice.

The decision to start or defend legal proceedings in the Supreme Court is complex and requires an understanding of the law and the facts of your situation.

You are encouraged to seek advice from a qualified lawyer about the merits of your position and the risk of being ordered to pay legal costs before you issue a proceeding or file a defence.

Legal proceedings in the Court can be expensive. Court fees are payable at different stages unless you have a fee waiver.

If you lose your case, you may need to pay some or all of the other party’s costs, including what they spent on lawyers and any other expenses, such as the cost of expert reports. These costs can be substantial.

The Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Vic) applies to Wills and Estates proceedings and imposes obligations on all parties, including self-represented litigants. Read and consider those obligations before starting or taking a step in a proceeding.

The following resources may be of assistance.

Public resources

Fitzroy Legal Service – The Law Handbook

The Fitzroy Legal Service publishes The Law Handbook, a practical guide to the law that is written by lawyers and updated annually. There is information on Wills and Estates and on understanding the law that may be of assistance.

Library Resources

Textbooks about Victorian law regarding Wills and Estates may be useful and can be read at the Law Library Victoria or any major university library. Take care when researching online, as legal principles from overseas or interstate jurisdictions may differ from Victorian law. Online material might not be written by qualified lawyers and could be inaccurate.

Victoria Legal Aid

The Victoria Legal Aid website contains some basic information about Wills and Estates. However, Victoria Legal Aid does not provide legal advice about Wills and Estates.

Law Institute of Victoria – Find Your Lawyer Referral Service

The Law Institute of Victoria’s Find Your Lawyer Referral Service offers a 30-minute consultation with a lawyer free of charge. You can search for lawyers who practise in Wills and Estates by filling in information under ‘Legal Issue’ or selecting ‘Wills, Probate & Estates’ under ‘Area of Law’.

  • Tel: 03 9607 9550
  • Email: ersreenyf@yvi.nfa.nhua.nsa.vil@slarrefer

Community Legal Centres

The Federation of Community Legal Centres Vic maintains a comprehensive list of Community Legal Centres available in Victoria. However, not all Community Legal Centres are able to assist with Wills and Estates. The Federation also offers phone referrals.

  • Ph: 1300 792 387

Supreme Court resources

The Testators Family Maintenance List manages all Court proceedings where a claim is made under Part IV of the Administration and Probate Act 1958 (Vic) for provision or further provision out of a deceased estate.

Read more about the List and management of proceedings in the List.

The Trusts, Equity and Probate List manages all Court proceedings involving wills, deceased estates, and charitable or other non-commercial trusts. This includes caveat proceedings, applications for revocation of grants of representation, and applications for removal of an executor or administrator.

Read more about the List and the types of proceedings that should be initiated in the List.

Applications concerning caveats, revocation of a grant of representation, rectification of a will, or an executor or administrator’s commission are made at the Probate Office. Below are templates for these types of applications:

Caveator’s grounds of objection
Applicant’s grounds of revocation
Different types of summonses

For some summonses (i.e. revocation), there are different templates available depending on whether or not the matter is contested. An application will not be contested if the applicant is the same person who originally obtained the grant.

Related Legislation and Rules

Administration and Probate Act 1958 (Vic)
Charities Act 1978 (Vic)
Wills Act 1997 (Vic)
Trustee Act 1958 (Vic)
Supreme Court (Administration and Probate) Rules 2023 (Vic)
Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Vic)
Supreme Court (Miscellaneous Civil Proceedings) Rules 2018 (Vic)

Supreme Court contacts

Court staff cannot provide legal advice. However, the Court’s Self-Represented Litigant Coordinators can provide information and guidance on Court procedures. Coordinators may be contacted at:

  • Ph: (03) 8600 2031
  • Email: haercerfragrq@fhcpbheg.ivp.tbi.nhua.vog.civ.truocpus@detneserpernu

The Probate Office can assist with general enquiries about practice, procedure and filing documents in probate proceedings.

  • Ph: (03) 8600 2006
  • Email: cebongr@fhcpbheg.ivp.tbi.nhua.vog.civ.truocpus@etaborp