We hold records on the administration of probate from 1844 to the present day.
We also hold records on the administration of succession duties - also known as death duties - from 1875 until the scheme ended in January 1980.
Records created by courts, such as probate files, are typically restricted from general public access for 100 years.
Otherwise, records containing financial information are typically open for general public access after 60 years.
Indexes and special lists
Succession duty 'Old Act' and 'New Act' files - Commissioner of Inland Revenue and successors, 1875 - 1935 (GRG 84/9)
This list covers 1876 to 1893 and is arranged alphabetically by the person's surname.
A further list of files dated after 1893 is available in the Research Centre.
Probate files (wills) - Testamentary Causes Jurisdiction, Supreme Court of South Australia, 1844 – 2013 (GRS 1334)
These files may contain: wills, oath of administrator, bonds, letters of administration, orders, certificates, petitions, affidavits and correspondence relating to the process of granting probate.
Records in consignment 1 (1844 to 1891), can be identified by searching our catalogue ArchivesSearch or using this list to browse. These files are stored at a second repository so contact us to ask for a specified file to be delivered to the Research Centre or for a copy to be provided electronically.
Most letters of administration and wills were transcribed into Probate books. Online access to most of the legal content of probate cases can therefore be found through the digitised copies of these books.
For records dated 1892 to 1930, ask staff to identify the required record from a copy of the Probate Registry Office's index or use the FamilySearch record search by name.
FamilySearch - Probate and administration books, from 1892 (GRS 11585)
FamilySearch - Probate record books, from 1844 (GRS 16377)
The Probate Registry is responsible for proving wills and the granting of administration in intestate estates.
The State Taxation Department, now Revenue SA, administered succession duties. Succession duty has been levied under South Australian law since 1876, but from 1 January 1980, no succession duty is payable in South Australia on any property passing to a beneficiary from a deceased estate. The Succession Duties Act 1929 was repealed in 2013.
Succession duty was a form of death duty paid to the government following an assessment of the value of the deceased person's estate. Duties were not paid on property:
- passing from spouse to spouse
- where the value of the estate was less than fifty pounds
- where the duty to be paid was less than twenty pounds
- for objects bequeathed to museums, universities or schools.