Australian Courts of Probate and Registries
A probate court (or court of probate) is concerned with the administration of deceased estates. Probate courts are divisions within each of the state and territory Supreme Courts.
Links to each state and territory’s probate registry
|New South Wales
||Probate Registry, Supreme Court of New South Wales|
||Wills and Probate, Supreme Court of Victoria|
||Wills and Probate, Supreme Court of Queensland|
||Wills and Probate, Supreme Court of Western Australia|
||Probate, Supreme Court of Tasmania|
||Wills and Probate, Supreme Court of the Northern Territory|
|Australian Capital Territory
||Probate, ACT Supreme Court|
Find detailed information, court forms and fees online on the Probate Courts websites.
Applications for grants or letters of administration have to be in accordance with the respective Probate Courts’ rules and procedures.
For advice and assistance with your personal circumstances consult a solicitor who offers services in this area who can help make the application on your behalf. Links to the Find a Lawyer referral services are available here.
Alternatively the Public Trustees in each State and Territory offer executor and estate administration services.
Time from lodgement of a probate application to receiving a grant
Probate Courts may publish on their websites an indication of how long the current wait time is, according to their current work loads. Once an application is lodged processing times can vary from a week or so to months in complex matters.
Challenges to a will or claims for more provision from the estate also delay the completion of an grant application.
Missing will, lost will and no will
When an original will has been lost or is missing or there is no will at all the intestacy rules apply. The process of finalising the deceased estate then takes longer. Delays can arise for other reasons such as locating beneficiaries. The Registry of Probate can usually provide a guide at the time of application in individual circumstances.
When there is only a copy of the original will (copy will)
Sometimes when the original will is missing there may be a copy of it. In limited circumstances this copy will may be accepted by the Court.
An informal will or testamentary document – home made or DIY wills
In other cases where an informal ‘will’ was made by the willmaker elements of this may cause issues to be resolved to the satisfaction of the Court and so cause delay.
Updated October 2023.
Supreme Court of South Australia, B Stead.