Willed Australia

Letters of Administration in Australia: The Beginners Guide 2021

If you or a loved one dies intestate, a Letter of Administration is necessary to give a person the responsibility to handle and distribute your estate. Who can apply for a Letter of Administration varies, and ultimately, the final decision is up to the court.

When do you need a Letter of Administration in Australia?

You need to apply for a Letter of Administration if the deceased died without a will (intestate) or did not name an executor in a valid will. Furthermore, you may need to apply for a Letter of Administration in Australia if the named executor is unwilling or unable to act.

Who can apply for a Letter of Administration?

Any person who is entitled to a share of the estate can apply for a Letter of Administration. Typically, the person who stands to inherit the largest portion of the estate is the one who applies. This person is usually the closest relative to the person who passed away.

The people the court will typically grant Letters of Administration to:

  • Husband, Wife or De Facto partner
  • Children or Next of Kin if there are no children
  • Guardian or Trustee if there’s no Next of Kin or they are unwilling to apply
  • Any other person the court feels is a good fit

The court determines who is appropriate to receive a Letter of Administration depending on the individual circumstances of the person who passed. These include the particulars of their estate and the nature of their relationships with those who are applying.

Do you still need a Letter of Administration when there’s a valid will?

If a deceased person has a legal will but no executor, a listed beneficiary can apply for a Letter of Administration with the will attached. This rule applies when:

  • There’s no named executor in the will
  • The executor died before the deceased or before applying for probate
  • The executor has renounced probate
  • The executor is unable or unwilling to act

Typically, if the court chooses to grant a Letter of Administration, the administer will still need to fulfil the wishes included in the will and distribute the assets accordingly. As a result, the administrator takes upon the roles and responsibilities of the executor.

It’s important to remember that before applying for a Letter of Administration, you need to ensure that you have tried to locate and execute the will in question. You can’t ignore an existing will and apply, as that would negate the person’s wishes and the legally valid document.

Do you need a lawyer to apply for a Letter of Administration?

While you don’t technically need to engage a lawyer to apply for a Letter of Administration, they can help give you peace of mind that you’ve applied correctly. Some crucial steps that lawyers can help with during the process include:

  • Understand what your situation is and whether or not you need to go through the process
  • Help you publish your notice of intent to apply on your state’s Registry website
  • Complete tricky paperwork the court needs
  • Support in the signing of important documents
  • Lodge your application on-time

Final Thoughts

When an individual passes away intestate, does not name an executor in a valid will or the executor is unwilling or unable to act, the deceased’s closest Next of Kin will need to apply for Letters of Administration to administer the estate.

Willed can help you through the process. Starting with a free consultation, you can speak with our experienced legal team with no obligation. To learn more, get a fixed fee quote today.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice.

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