What is probate?
Probate is the legal process that proves the validity of a Will.
If a person dies and has left behind assets, all of these assets (including real estate and personal property) are deemed to immediately be vested in the state Trustee, in accordance with the relevant state legislation. In order for the Executor or Administrator to take control of these assets and begin distributing them to the beneficiaries, the Executor must apply to the Supreme Court for a 'Grant of Probate' on the deceased's last Will.
What does a 'Grant of Probate' mean?
Probate is granted by the court. This means the court is satisfied that the Will is valid. Once probate has been granted the person who has been named in the Will as it's Executor may begin finalising the deceased's affairs and administer the Estate by collecting funds, selling assets and distributing the Estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the wishes outlined by the deceased in their Will. At this point, full control of the assets will have shifted from the Trustee to the Executor.
Generally once the Executor has received a Grant of Probate will the asset holders (banks, share registry, department of lands, etc) release and transfer the deceased's assets into the Executor's name.