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All you need to know about Letters of Administration

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If you or your loved one dies, it’s the responsibility of other family members to distribute the wealth among the next of kin or as per the deceased desires. To do so, one will require the deceased’s Will and executor, who shall follow the instructions in the Will and do the needful.

However, if someone dies intestate, i.e., without a Will or naming an executor, distributing their assets can be complicated. One of the first things you’ll do is obtain a letter of administration. This document gives you the legal authority to act on behalf of the estate. Here is everything you must know about letters of administration.

What Is a Letter of Administration?

When a person dies, leaving their Will and naming the executor, the process of administering the estate becomes easy. It’s then the onus of the executor to acquire probate from the Supreme Court of the jurisdiction and distribute the estate as per the Will. However, when there isn’t a will or executor, the close family members or next of kin have to shoulder the responsibility of administering the estate. They will require the Letters of Administration for the procedure.

The letter of administration is a legal document that gives the holder the authority to administer the estate of someone who has died. You’ll need to file a petition with the Supreme Court to obtain this document. Once the court approves the petition, they will issue the letter of administration.

When Do You Need the Letter of Administration?

Usually, distributing the wealth among the beneficiaries doesn’t become a problem when there is a Will and an executor. All you need is to obtain probate and then follow the instructions on the Will. However, in some cases, there may be an absence of a Will or executor, so you may need to acquire the Letters of administration to administer the estate. Below are the situations when one will need to apply for the letters of administration

  • There is no Will
  • The deceased hasn’t named an executor
  • The executor isn’t alive
  • The executor is unwilling/unwell to take the responsibility

Who Can Apply for Letters of Administration?

In most cases, someone entitled to the whole or a share of the estate can apply for letters of administration. Below is the list of people who can approach the Supreme Court for the Letter of Administration-

  • Next of kin or Closest relative
  • Spouse (married, partner for a continuous period of more than 2 years, relationship resulted in childbirth)
  • Joint petition by spouse and next of kin

If there isn’t a next of kin or a close relative willing to shoulder the responsibility, the Supreme Court will grant the following bodies to apply for the letter of administration-

  • Trustee & Guardian
  • Somebody else who the court thinks is fit for the role

What Does a Letter of Administration Allow You to Do?

Once you have the letter of administration, you’ll have certain legal responsibilities. For example, you will be responsible for identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s assets and paying any debts and taxes. You will also be responsible for distributing any remaining assets according to the deceased person’s Will or state law.

How to Apply for Letters of Administration?

There are many probate services in Australia that can help to apply for Letters of administration. Approaching them can help to ease and quicken the procedure. Below are the steps involved in applying for the letters of administration

Confirm There Isn’t a Will

The first criterion of applying for letters of administration is to confirm that there isn’t a Will or executor. You or your solicitor can obtain an affidavit that affirms that there isn’t a Will to present in court when required.

Prove Your Eligibility

 

The next proof you will need is a piece of evidence that states your relationship with the deceased. It will confirm that you are legally entitled to letters of administration.

Gather All the Necessary Documents

After that, you will have to obtain all the vital documents and information you may need to present in court. These are-

  • Full name of the deceased
  • Address of the deceased
  • Death certificate
  • Address where notices can be sent.
  • Inventory of Property

Original Will, if applying for Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed

Publish a Notice

Before applying to the Supreme Court for the grant of letters of administration, the executor must publish a notice for 14 days. You can file the notice online with the ‘Online Registry Website’ and then wait for 14 days before applying for the letters of administration.

Apply for the Letters of Administration

After 14 days, you can present all the necessary documents in court and apply for the grant of letters of administration. There will also be a filing fee that the executor will have to pay.

Handle Requisitions From the Court

If all the documents are apt according to the Supreme Court, you will soon receive the grant of probate. However, they will issue requisitions if the court requires more information on various subjects. You will need to answer the requisitions promptly.

Administer the Assets

Once the executor receives the letters of administration, they can administer and distribute the estate according to the intestacy laws of the state.

Summing Up

Managing the estate of a loved one who died is a complicated process. However, probate services in Australia can help you understand the procedure and obtain necessary documents without having to toil for it.

Probate Consultants offer their services to obtain probate and letters of administration. They are Australia’s highest rated Probate Service with a guaranteed fastest approval time. They offer their valuable services at reasonable costs, as they know dealing with the loss of a loved one is grave and handling the massive responsibility of distributing their gifts can be taxing. Therefore, they shoulder all the duties and help the next of kin slowly heal from the pain.

You can call 1300 561 803 for a free consultation or book a callback.

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