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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

In 2012, the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) commenced. This is a new, national register of security interests over assets, which replaced multiple Commonwealth and State registers. Security interests over assets such as vehicles, stock or equipment (i.e. almost all types of assets other than land) are now registered on the PPSR and are subject to new laws.

How does this affect you?

All businesses in Australia are now effected by the PPSR, whether by way of security interests being registered against them (eg. as part of bank loans or supply arrangements); or when they are registering security interests in their favour against customers (eg. securing retention of title clauses for supplied goods or ownership over plant and equipment leased to others).

If you fail to register your security interest against a customer, this could cause you to lose your priority secured position, as against other creditors who have a registered secured interest, in the case of your customer becoming insolvent. Here are a few common examples:

Retaining title to goods and materials supplied:

Many suppliers sell goods on the basis that the customers do not own the goods until there has been full payment. Under the PPSR, such retention of title clauses will need to be registered by the supplier in order to give it full legal protection. Without PPSR registration, a supplier's contractual right to retain ownership and take goods back in the event of non-payment and insolvency can be overridden by, for example, a bank having a registered security interest against all the stock in the possession of the customer. In this case, the bank would be able to hold onto the supplied goods irrespective of the supplier's retention of ownership clause.

Equipment lease agreements:

Where plant and equipment is leased, the terms of the lease need to be adjusted and security interests need to be registered. If the lessor does not register the security interests over its items of plant and equipment, then the lessor will risk losing the item of plant and equipment if the lessee becomes insolvent and a liquidator, administrator or secured other creditor has access and takes possession of the plant and equipment.

Hints and Traps

The following are some common issues with the PPSR which you should be aware of:

  • In searching the PPSR, ensure that you separately search the company name, ABN and business name as the PPSR has some existing transcription errors from previous registers.
  • When getting a security interest discharged, note that this is not a paper-based process and will need to be electronically done by the security interest holder (e.g. the bank). A paper discharge undertaking provided to you by the security holder will have no effect on the PPSR and you should ensure that the security holder has electronically lodged the release.
  • Make sure that all your security arrangements are recorded in writing, as Security Agreements, as this is the basis of any PPSR registration.
  • Once your Security Agreements are in place, you should ensure that you have smooth processes for PPSR registration as there are strict time limits which apply.

If you have any queries on the PPSR or what your business needs to do, please feel free to give Mitchell Zadow a call on (03) 8561 3318.

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

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For further information contact

Mitchell Zadow

Mitchell is the Managing Principal of our law practice.

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. For further information, contact Mitchell on his direct line (03) 8561 3318.

More on

Commercial Law

In 2012, the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) commenced. This is a new, national register of security interests over assets, which replaced multiple Commonwealth and State registers. Security interests over assets such as vehicles, stock or equipment (i.e. almost all types of assets other than land) are now registered on the PPSR and are subject to new laws.

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 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 placed on the Supreme Court website for at least 14 days prior to any application.

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 does not take long to process the application (maybe another 1 to 2 weeks) and this is done 'on the papers' using the electronic Court filing system. This means you do not have to go to a court hearing. There is also a general discretion for the Court to issue a 'Requisition' asking that you provide more information before they process the application and this can 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. 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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About Sharrock Pitman Legal

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.