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This section has information about applying for probate.
Probate is a court order made by the Supreme Court of NSW which confirms that the will of the deceased is valid and gives permission to the executor to distribute the estate as described in the deceased person's will.
If you are an executor named in a will you must apply for probate if there is real estate owned in the deceased's sole name or as tenants in common with another person, or if any asset in the estate cannot be transferred without probate. The deceased's property cannot be distributed until you apply for and are granted probate by the Supreme Court of NSW.
If you are named as an executor in a will, you should apply for a Grant of Probate at the Supreme Court of NSW within six months from the date of death of the deceased, unless there is a reasonable explanation for the delay.
If the deceased died without leaving a will, you will need to apply for letters of administration rather than probate. For more information, see
Applying for letters of administration.
If the deceased did have a will but there is no executor named or the executor is unable or unwilling to act, then a beneficiary may need to apply for letters of administration with the will annexed. For more information, see
Applying for letters of administration.
There are a number of steps you must take before the court will grant probate:
Before you apply to the Supreme Court of New South Wales for probate, you must first publish a probate notice on the NSW Online Registry website. This is also called a 'Notice of intended application'.
To publish a probate notice on the NSW Online Registry website you must register an account.
For more information or to register online, go to the
NSW Online Registry website.
There are fees for publishing which are payable by credit card.
If you do not have access to the internet or if you do not own a credit card, you may file the form and pay the fee at the Supreme Court registry in person or by post.
Before you publish the notice on the NSW Online Registry website, you will need the following information:
Sample online Notice of Intended Application (Form 116) - Probate
Once you have published your notice you have to wait at least 14 days before you file your application for probate.
If you have made a mistake in the notice, you must contact the Supreme Court of New South Wales to correct it. You may need to re-publish the notice. You will need to wait another 14 days from the time the notice has been corrected before you can file your application.
After you have published the notice of intended application for probate on the NSW Online Registry and you have waited at least 14 days, you can apply for probate. To apply for probate you will need to file the following documents at the Supreme Court of New South Wales:
You will also need to pay a filing fee and provide the court with a stamped, self-addressed A4 envelope.
After you have paid the filing fee and filed your application, the registry will check the application is complete and may send you requisitions by post if additional information is required. If your application is complete and correct, the Registrar will make a Grant of Probate.
If someone challenges the validity of the will, you should get
The court may require you to publish another notice of intended application if it has been more than six months since you have published the notice of intended application on the NSW Online Registry.
Step by step guide: Making a probate application
If your application is incomplete or incorrect, you will receive a written requisition from the court which explains the problems with your application.
You will need to either re-file a form or file a separate affidavit to answer the requisition and attach a copy of the requisition to your affidavit.
The court will not grant you administration until you have answered the requisition. The court may raise further requisitions if the court is not satisfied with your response.
Your application may be dismissed if you fail to respond to the requisition or if you do not ask for more time to respond to the requisition.
If you do not understand the requisition or if you are not sure how to respond, you may ask the Supreme Court registry or get
Sample requisitions from the court - Probate
If there are no problems with your application and documents, and after any requisitions are finalised, probate should be granted. You do not need to attend court as the court Registrar will normally do this in Chambers (not in open court).
For more information about what to do once probate has been granted, see
After probate or administration.
In some situations, there may be problems with applying for a grant of probate when an executor is unwilling or unable to act.
An executor may be unable to act because they:
For more information about issues with executors, see
When an executor is unwilling or unable to act.
Case study - Probate application for the estate of the late Isabella Rose
Isabella died on 21 June 20XX while on holiday in Canada. Isabella's last will was made on 1 November 20XX. Isabella appointed her husband Edwin James Rose and her brother Rodi De Grasse as the executors of her will.Isabella left all of her real and personal estate to her husband. Isabella owned a property in joint names with her husband. Isabella held a separate investment account in her own name.Isabella and Edwin did not have any children.Following Isabella's death, Rodi decided that he did not want to act as an executor so he completed a Renunciation of Probate form and filed it with the Supreme Court.
State Library NSW - Rest assured: a legal guide to wills, estates and funerals in New South Wales
NSW Trustee and Guardian
Supreme Court of NSW