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Mitchell is the Managing Principal of Sharrock Pitman Legal. He is an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Law (accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria). He also deals with areas of Employment Law, Wills & Estate Planning and Probate and can answer all your questions related to probate.

For further information, contact Mitchell on his direct line:


CALL: (03) 8561 3318

When selling property in Victoria, many sellers may be used to terms such as ‘Section 32’ or ‘Vendor’s Statement’. Usually, your legal representative will assist you with the preparation of this document in anticipation of your sale. It is important to note however that the Contract may be rescinded by a Purchaser if an adequate Vendor’s Statement is not provided to them at the time of sale (noting the obligations under section 32K of the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic)).

However, what happens when you fail to disclose important information concerning the property, but this information does not strictly fall under one of the prescribed ‘disclosure’ sections of the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic)? Do you have to disclose this information?

The short answer is, it depends on what information needs to be disclosed!

The key section of the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic)

It is important for all Vendors to recognise the recent amendments to section 12(d) of the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic). The section outlines how “any person, with the intention of inducing any person to buy any land makes or publishes any statement, promise or forecast which he knows to be misleading or deceptive or knowingly conceals any material facts or recklessly makes any statement or forecast which is misleading or deceptive is guilty of an offence.”

Examples of Material Facts

Material Facts can be both general in nature about the purchase of the property, or they can be specific to the actual property. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • history of extreme violence on the property,
  • A property which has been previously used to manufacture illegal substances, such as methyl amphetamine,
  • A property which has previously been used for the disposal of chemicals,
  • A large scale building development about to commence across the road, and
  • Undisclosed building defects, such as water leaks.

You can access further information and a more comprehensive guide at Consumers Affairs Victoria.

What are the repercussions if you fail to disclose material facts?

Essentially, if you fail to disclose material facts when preparing the Contract of Sale and Vendor’s Statement, you as the Vendor may not only face penalties under s12(d) of the Act, but you also may face other consequences.

Importantly, s48A of the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic) outlines how many aspects of the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 (Vic) will apply. This means that a court may have the power to order financial penalties, compensation, and in extreme cases, your sale and settlement may be jeopardised.

What should you do when considering to sell your property?

Whenever you are considering the sale of property, you should ensure that you disclose all relevant information to your legal representative at the start of the matter. At Sharrock Pitman Legal, as Accredited Property Law Specialists, we are well equipped to assist you to work through all potential material facts scenarios to ensure that your interests are protected. If you require assistance, please feel free to get in touch on 1300 205 506 or alternatively fill in the contact form below.

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Any legal matters should be discussed specifically with one of our lawyers.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Written by one of our lawyers

,

.

Benjamin Drinkwater

For further information contact

Andre Ong

Andre is a Principal of Sharrock Pitman Legal.

He heads our Property Law Group and is an Accredited Specialist in Property Law (accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria).  He also deals with Commercial Law. For further information, contact Andre Ong on his direct line (03) 8561 3317.

More on

Property Law

However, in this article we will set out the factors that influence how long it will take to obtain a Grant of Probate and to administer an estate in Victoria.

The basics

First things first: what is a Grant of Probate? A Grant of Probate is effectively a document issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria which formally authorises an executor to manage the estate of a deceased person in accordance with their Will. Without Probate, the asset holders (say a bank or share registry) cannot be satisfied as who has the correct authority to receive the deceased's assets and may refuse to pay out.

Sometimes, for smaller estates or if assets are mostly jointly owned with a surviving spouse, asset holders might agree to release payment without requiring a Grant of Probate. This is usually on the basis that the person who receives payment promises to repay (or Indemnify) the asset holder if it turns out they paid to the wrong person.

If there is no Will, then you cannot obtain a Grant of Probate. Instead you obtain Letters of Administration. This is effectively the same, in terms of authorising someone to administer the estate, and would usually be obtained by the person who is the closest next-of-kin to the deceased.

“A Grant of Probate is effectively a document issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria which formally authorises an executor to manage the estate of a deceased person in accordance with their Will.”

Timeframes for Probate in Victoria

In order to obtain a Grant of Probate, the Supreme Court needs to be given information about the assets and liabilities of the estate, the deceased person, the witnesses to the Will, the executors and the Will itself. An advertisement of your intention to apply for Probate must also be published on the Supreme Court website for at least 14 days prior to any application being lodged.

Often, making enquires to obtain all the necessary information can take a number of weeks. Also, you will need the Death Certificate for the application for Grant of Probate and possibly for making proper enquires regarding the assets and liabilities. Waiting for the Death Certificate to issue can therefore add a few more weeks to the process. Overall, if you have your application for Grant of Probate lodged within 1 to 2 months from the date of death, you are making timely progress.

The Court itself usually does not take long to process the application (maybe another 1 to 2 weeks) and this is completed using the electronic Supreme Court filing system. This means you do not have to go to a Court hearing. The timeframe for processing applications for Letters of Administration is even less, given that there is no Will document for the Court to consider. There is also a general discretion for the Court to raise a 'Requisition' asking for more information before they review the application - this can sometimes delay matters.

“Overall, if you have your application for Grant of Probate lodged within 1 to 2 months from the date of death, you are making timely progress.”

So, here we are a few months after death and you finally have a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. It is important to remember that this is the start of the estate administration and not the end. For a very simple estate, you might only need a further month or so to cash the assets and pay them to the correct beneficiaries. However, it can often be more complex than that. Factors that determine the timeframe to administer the estate include:-

  • Some assets will take time to cash or transfer. For example, if selling a property, final settlement might be 60/90/120 days from the day of sale.
  • There is a 6 month period for challenges to be brought against the estate and executors must wait until this period expires before distributing the estate, if there is any risk that a disgruntled family member might come forward.
  • There might need to be final tax returns for the deceased or for the estate. Failing to wait for the ATO to process these could leave the executor personally liable for a tax bill.
  • You might need to advertise for creditors to come forward and wait for a period of months while this advertising timeframe expires. This protects the executor if they are unsure of all of the deceased's financial dealings and creditors.
  • It might not always be a good time to immediately cash estate assets. For example, the shares just took a nose-dive, do you still sell regardless of available price?

There is a general rule that executors have an 'executor's year' to complete the estate administration. This means that you should be aiming to have the estate finalised and distributed within 12 months from the date of death.

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Any legal matters should be discussed specifically with one of our lawyers.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Need help with Probate?

Our expert legal team is ready to take your call!

Mitchell is the Managing Principal of Sharrock Pitman Legal. He is an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Law (accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria). He also deals with areas of Employment Law, Wills & Estate Planning and Probate and can answer all your questions related to probate.

For further information, contact Mitchell on his direct line:

DIRECT LINE: 
(03) 8561 3318

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For fifty years Sharrock Pitman Legal has made a significant and long term contribution to meeting the legal needs of business owners and residents in the City of Monash and greater Melbourne area.