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Common questions

Supreme Court - Civil


When does the court grant probate?

As executor, you can apply to the Supreme Court for a grant of probate.

The court will only issue the grant once it is satisfied that the will is the last will of the person who has died.

Are the contents of a will private?

Once a will is filed in the court it becomes a public document and anyone can view the will on payment of a small fee.

Why would I need a grant of probate?

You may need a grant of probate because some people or organisations holding assets of the estate will not release them without sighting a grant of probate.

Do I have to apply for a grant of probate?

You don’t need a grant of probate if the asset (e.g. the family home) is in joint names, because it already belongs to the surviving joint owner.

In some situations, it is worth checking with the organisation (e.g. bank) involved to be sure that a grant of probate is necessary. You may not need one if:

  • the assets are relatively small (e.g. a small bank account)
  • the real estate is to be transferred to a beneficiary named in the will (the Land Titles registry has a special procedure for this and you usually don’t need a grant of probate)
  • you have to sell real estate (the Land Titles registry has a special procedure for this and you usually don’t need a grant of probate).

Do I have to make the application myself?

You can engage a solicitor or the Public Trustee to make the application for you. Many solicitors and the Public Trustee will agree to a fixed fee for this type of work.

What if the will is damaged?

Under no circumstances should you attach a will to any other document. For instance, never use devices such as staples, pins or piercing clips.

If a will shows any sign of damage or tampering you will need to file a Form 111 - Affidavit of plight and condition and finding (UCPR) to explain why.

Any exhibit supporting an affidavit, such as a death certificate, must have a Form 47 -Certificate of exhibit (UCPR) on the back.

Follow the troubleshooting guide for extra assistance with this process.

Can I complete the form in handwriting?

All forms must be typed, not handwritten.

What happens after my application is lodged?

After the application is lodged, court staff examine the documents and, if everything is in order, they prepare the grant. You collect it when it is ready or, if you have supplied a stamped, self-addressed envelope, they will post it to you.

How long does it take?

The process is relatively quick. Once you file the application in the court, the grant should be ready approximately four weeks later. If there are any problems, court staff will contact you.

How much does it cost?

Your costs may include:

  • advertising fees
  • court filing fees
  • postage
  • the fee for the original death certificate issued by the Registrar General
  • paying for the preparation of documents
  • the solicitor’s fees (if you have engaged one).

Advertising fees vary, so you should contact the relevant newspaper about its charges.

For more information on fees and charges go to the courts’ website or phone:

  • Brisbane (07) 3247 4313
  • Townsville (07) 4799 7261
  • Rockhampton (07) 4983 4568
  • Cairns (07) 4039 8885.

As an executor is there anything else I need to do?

An executor has many duties, including:

  • gathering or taking control of estate property
  • lodging tax returns and finalising tax affairs
  • advertising for any debts owing, and paying those debts out
  • finalising any financial or business affairs
  • paying out legacies
  • distributing or transferring the estate property according to the will.

You must be very careful in your administration of the estate, because you can be held accountable for any losses.

What if probate is granted in another state but then assets are found in Queensland?

If this occurs, you will need to apply to the Queensland Supreme Court to reseal the grant of probate. This will be required before the executors can carry out the terms of the will. The resealing process is based on an agreement between the states.

Does the court hold copies of all wills?

No, unlike some States of Australia the Supreme Court of Queensland is not a repository for wills. The Supreme Court of Queensland only holds a will of a person after they have died and only if their executor files an Application for Probate. If there is no need to obtain a grant of probate the original will won’t be filed with the Court. There is no legal requirement to apply for probate in every deceased estate.


Last reviewed
22 June 2011
Last updated
4 May 2015

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