According to bereaved families in Southern Australia, they have to wait four months at most in order to have access to the estate of their loved ones who passed away. This news came as a shock to probate lawyers in Melbourne because the process should not take that long to begin with.
Apparently, there is a justified reason for the delay which is that the courts are trying to digitize their probate applications. Processing of the wills is therefore halted for the meantime as they arrange the new online system which will be used to manage the applications for probate. The Supreme Court Chief Justice said that it will be worth it since after the online system has been established the processing of the services will be faster than before. For the meantime, grieving families are asked to be more patient.
An announcement has already been released by the probate registry starting the middle of September because their applications will just be included in the delay. This means that estate management for people who passes away since August will have to wait until next year.
Not all of the estates are required to have probate grant coming from the Supreme Court but there are institutions such as land titles office, nursing homes and banks that need these documents before they can release the assets that are entitles to the person who passed away.
Joan Sedsman, the chairman of the Succession Law Committee of Law Society, said that this process is quite unfair and it adds burden to those who are already grieving. It makes it harder for everyone involved while those who are not financially capable might struggle in the process.
Ms. Sedsman voiced the distress it has caused to her widowed client who is hoping to move to a new place before the holiday comes but since the freeze was put in place there is nothing they could do. She is not alone in defending her client’s rights because probate lawyers in Melbourne are also faced with having to face a few weeks when the process should be done in a matter of days to help grieving families move on with their lives faster.