Dealing with the estate of someone who died owning assets in Australia?
If a person dies owning assets located in Australia, the executor of their will, or the person entitled to sort out their estate, will usually be required to deal with the Australian assets so that they can either be sold or transferred to the people entitled to inherit the assets (“the beneficiaries”).
In order to do this, the person dealing with the estate will usually need to either apply for a legal document called an Australian Grant of Probate or arrange to have a Grant of Probate obtained in England and Wales (or another commonwealth country) “recognised” in Australia.
The process of having the Grant of Probate recognised in Australia is called “resealing the Grant of Probate”.
Is it always necessary to obtain a resealed Grant of Probate to deal with Australia assets?
It is usually necessary but not always. It depends on the value of the assets. If the asset is of a particularly low value, a resealed Grant of Probate may not be required. You should contact the person holding the assets, such as the Australian bank or share registrar, to find out their requirements.
If the asset is a property or is of substantial value, an Australian Grant of Probate or a resealed Grant of Probate will always be required.
Can a Grant of Letters of Administration be resealed in Australia?
If the deceased did not have a will, the person entitled to deal with the estate will obtain a document called a “Grant of Letters of Administration” instead of a Grant of Probate.
Grants of Probate and Grants of Letters of Administration can be resealed in Australia. Other equivalent documents from other commonwealth countries can also be resealed.
Do I need to instruct an Australian lawyer to re-seal a Grant of Probate?
Resealing a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration in Australia requires a detailed understanding of Australian laws and legal processes. An application to the Courts in Australia will need to be made and specific public notices may need to be entered.
It is therefore advisable to instruct a lawyer in Australia who has experience dealing with international probates and the reseal process. An experienced Australian lawyer will be able to efficiently obtain the resealed Grant of Probate. They will also be able to liaise with the relevant bank, share registrar or asset holder to arrange for the assets to be sold or transferred to the beneficiaries as required.
Author: Sara Janion
DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances. This article is merely a general comment on the relevant topic. If specific advice is required in connection with any of the matters covered in this article, please speak to Worldwide Lawyers directly.