Before looking at who is responsible for paying the fees associated with Probate, let’s first look at what Probate is. Probate is how a person proves and registers the final Will of a deceased person in the Supreme Court. You see, when someone dies, their estate, including assets and debts, need to be managed. The executor of the Will is a person nominated by the deceased person to act on their behalf. They need to be authorised to administer the estate after death. They gain this authority by applying to the Supreme court for a grant of Probate. A ‘grant of Probate’ proves that the executor is authorised to administer the Will.
Who Is Responsible For Paying For Probate?Most of the time, the deceased’s bank can pay the filing fee for Probate. Your professional solicitor can contact the bank to ask for the money to cover the fee on your behalf. However, sometimes the deceased doesn’t leave enough money in their account to cover the costs. In that event, you may need to pay the filing fee with your funds, but you will usually be reimbursed from the estate as it is an expense incurred in the administration of the estate. Reimbursement will occur once Probate is granted and any assets sold.
What Are the Costs Associated With Probate?There are several costs involved with filing for Probate in New South Wales. Filing fees are paid to the Supreme Court of NSW, while you’ll pay professional fees to your lawyer. Your solicitor will explain how the court filing fee and associated costs work according to the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Regulations 2015. The fees for getting a first-time grant or reseal are set out in Schedule 3 of the Regulations. Estates, wills and will-disputes are dealt with by the Supreme Court of New South Wales. When making your Probate application, you need:
- The death certificate.
- The valid Will and any codicils.
- The Probate.
- A summons for Probate signed by a lawyer.
- An inventory of property detailing the deceased person’s assets and liabilities.
- An affidavit from the executor of the estate.
Additional Costs To Filing FeesAdditional fees might need to be covered when filing for Probate because the process can be time-consuming, and there are several forms and administrative requirements with which to comply. For example, a solicitor’s professional costs may include things such as:
- Transportation or postage costs acquiring relevant documents.
- Obtaining the death certificate.
- Valuations of estate assets or property.
- Assistance in preparing documentation.
Who’s Responsible For Paying Legal Fees To Administer An Estate?The general rule is that the estate is responsible for costs involved in its administration, including:
- Taking care of any of the deceased’s unpaid bills.
- Immediate funeral arrangements can cost anywhere from $5000 to $15000.
- Any ongoing fees or costs associated with specific assets.
- Finalising the deceased’s tax affairs.
How Much Does An Estate Lawyer Cost?Costs for legal assistance can vary from State to State and lawyer to lawyer. Just be clear about what legal help you want and what you expect them to do. Applying for Probate is only one task. If you require additional assistance with the estate, you will incur additional costs. In New South Wales, the disclosed value of assets will determine what your probate lawyer costs. For example, you would pay around $560 plus $13.33 for every $1000 up to $30,000 plus GST if the disclosed value of assets is less than $30,000. Some lawyers in Queensland and Victoria charge by the hour for services, including printing documents, postage and phone calls. Other solicitors take a percentage of the estate or charge fees according to complexity. Western Australian fees vary from firm to firm. Some charge by the hour. Some change their rates according to how complex the case is, and others charge fixed fees for probate applications. If a lawyer acts as the executor, they can claim an executor’s commission. This commission may equal about 3 to 5 per cent of the estate’s total value.
What Is Needed To Apply For A Grant Of Probate?You must first apply to the Supreme Court of NSW to declare the deceased’s Will as a valid legal document. Once validated, the executor of the deceased’s estate can be gathered in, and liabilities paid before the estate is then distributed among the beneficiaries of the Will. A probate application includes the preparation of the following essential documents:
- An online advertisement of intention to apply for Probate at least 14 days preceding the application being filed in the Court.
- The Court summons – a formal document to seek the grant of Probate.
- An affidavit or sworn statement signed by the estate executor includes everything relating to the deceased’s estate.
- The original death certificate and Will of the deceased filed with the Court.