Being appointed an executor or trustee in a will may seem an honour. After all, you’re being asked to stand In the willmaker’s shoes and dispose of their assets when he or she is unable to do so themselves. And, though it may be considered the ultimate sign of trust, it also comes with a great deal of responsibility – both moral and legal, so it’s best to know your obligations before agreeing to the task.

Probate

Last updated

1 July 2020

As mentioned in Chapter 9.3: Wills, when a person dies leaving a will, a grant of probate must be obtained. This is approval by the registrar of probates on behalf of the Supreme Court of Victoria that the deceased’s will is in fact the last valid will in existence. The majority of wills are proved in ‘common’ form. This occurs where there is no dispute about the validity of the will. Probate in these cases is granted when certain documents are filed with the Probate Office (see ‘Contacts’ at the end of this chapter), without any court proceeding being necessary. If, however, there is any challenge, or the possibility of a challenge, to the validity of the will, it is necessary to prove the will in ‘solemn’ form, which involves formal Supreme Court proceedings.

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