​Ordering a copy of a will or a grant

If you wish to order a copy of a will or a grant of probate or letters of administration, the following form is required along with the relevant fee(s). 

Search Request Form Search Request Form.docx [26KB] Search Request Form.pdf [16KB]

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Keep the will pristine in an envelope or plastic sheet protector.

Do not remove staples or binding, etc. from a will in order to photocopy the will.

Do not attach anything to a will by way of a pin, glider clip or staple.  Holes caused by removal of staples and indents from glider clips or the like must be explained by affidavit.

Do not laminate a will, death certificate or any other document relating to a probate application.

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Grants of probate or administration

The Supreme Court of South Australia is the Court that has exclusive jurisdiction in this State to make orders in relation to the validity of a will of a deceased person, the appointment of an executor or an administrator and the administration of a deceased estate.  

The Probate Registry deals with applications for grants of probate or administration and other related matters. The Probate Registry keeps a register of probates and administrations granted by the Court.   An uncertified search copy of any South Australian will can be obtained from the registry for a fee. For more information on obtaining a copy of a will, use the Contact Us details to the right.

On application for a grant the Court determines what document or documents constitute the last will of the deceased and / or who is entitled to be the personal representative of the deceased (i.e. the executor or administrator).  When these determinations have been made a grant is issued in respect of the estate of the deceased person.

There are three types of grants:

  1. Probate
  2. Letters of administration with the will annexed
  3. Letters of administration

When necessary a grant will be limited in duration, in respect of property or to any special purpose.  The term “grant” is used to mean whatever type of grant is issued.

A grant is the official recognition by the Court of the right of the personal representative named in the grant to administer the estate of a deceased person and of the vesting in the personal representative of the title to the deceased’s estate.

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Need for a grant

The Court does not decide whether or not a grant is required.  That depends on the nature and extent of the assets to be administered and the requirements of the institutions holding the assets.  The applicant must address this before seeking a grant from the Court.

Some estates may be administered informally, without a grant.  For this reason the person undertaking the administration of the estate should first inquire from each institution holding an asset belonging to the deceased whether the institution is prepared to release the asset without seeing a grant.  For example, banks and insurance companies may release money without a grant if the amount is small and there are no complications.  However, conditions may be imposed.

A grant will not be required when the only assets are held as joint tenants.  For example, real estate in the names of husband and wife as joint tenants becomes the property of the survivor by operation of law and requires only the registration of the death on the title.

On the other hand, a grant will always be required if the deceased owned real estate in his or her own name or held an interest in real estate with another party as tenant in common.  The Lands Titles Registration Office will not process a transfer of the deceased’s interest to another person without a grant.

If there is a requirement for a personal representative to prove his or her title to an asset in the deceased’s name it might be necessary to obtain a grant.

A bank, insurance company, share registry or other institution may require a grant before it will allow a personal representative to deal with a substantial estate asset.

The distribution of the assets in the deceased’s estate is the responsibility of the person named in the grant and the grant is proof that the person named in it is entitled to collect and distribute the estate of the deceased.

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If a grant is required to administer the estate

All applications for grants must be in accordance with the Rules of Court.  Those Rules govern who is entitled to claim the grant and the manner in which the application must be made.

Applications for grants can be made by one of the following methods:

  1. Instruct a solicitor of your choice to make the application on your behalf.
    The Law Society of South Australia can provide the names of law firms who specialise in this jurisdiction.
  2. Request the Public Trustee or any one of the Trustee Companies (being a company authorised under the Trustee Companies Act, 1988) to act as an executor or administrator of the deceased estate.
  3. Prepare the documents necessary to make the application personally.

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Forms, Fees and Rules

Related Links

Contact Us

Please note that Probate Registry staff are not permitted to provide and will not provide any legal advice.
Write to the Registrar of Probates:
1 Gouger Street
Adelaide, South Australia, 5000
Telephone the Courts Administration Authority Contact Centre

p: +61 8 82042444
1 Gouger Street
Adelaide, South Australia, 5000
From Higher Courts Registry, Sir Samuel Way Building,
241-259 Victoria Square Adelaide South Australia 5000