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What do you need to know about Letters of Administration?

A Letter of Administration is a legal document issued by a Court that grants authority to a person to administer the estate of a deceased individual who died without a valid Will or left no executor. The Letters of Administration empowers the administrator to act as the legal representative of the deceased’s estate and carry out various duties related to the estate administration process.

When applying for Letters of Administration, the priority for application is generally given to the following individuals in the order specified:

  • Surviving spouse or de facto partner;
  • Children of the deceased either jointly or individually;
  • Parents of the deceased;
  • Siblings of the deceased either jointly or individually; and
  • If none of the above-mentioned individuals are available or willing to act as the administrator, the Court can consider other relatives or interested parties who may have a claim to the estate.

Some common scenarios when Letters of Administration is necessary:

  • Intestacy;
  • Invalid or incomplete Will;
  • Death of the executor;
  • Renunciation or disclaimer of executorship; and
  • Executors are unable to act.

The time frame for obtaining Letters of Administration in New South Wales can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the estate, any disputes or challenges, and the workload of the Court.

An overview of what is typically required when applying for a Grant of Letters of Administration:

  • Determine eligibility by the intestacy laws of NSW, and the priority for application is given to the surviving spouse, children, parents, and siblings of the deceased, in that order;
  • Obtain the necessary forms;
  • Complete the application forms with details about the deceased, your relationship to the deceased, information about other potential beneficiaries, and any relevant supporting documents;
  • Gather supporting documents;
  • Prepare an affidavit that sets out the relevant facts of the case, including information about the deceased, your relationship to the deceased, and the absence of a valid Will. The affidavit needs to be sworn or affirmed before a qualified witness, such as a solicitor or a Justice of the Peace;
  • Lodge the application; and
  • Obtain the Grant of Letters of Administration.

If you are applying for Letters of Administration, please contact our office and our Estates team will be able to assist you in ensuring your application meets the requirements and is executed in accordance with the law in order to protect the deceased estates assets.