If someone close to you has recently died and did not leave a will, you may need to apply for letters of administration NSW. The Supreme Court issues this document, giving you the legal authority to administer the deceased person's estate.
It can be a complicated process, so we have created this guide to help make things easier for you. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about letters of administration NSW, including the application process and what happens afterwards.
What is a letter of administration?
A letter of administration is a grant issued by the Supreme Court that gives a person authority over a deceased's estate. There are letters of administration for every state and territory. However, each one has different rules and procedures.
For example, letters of administration NSW have a certain process for applying for the grant.
When are letters of administration in NSW required?
Applying for letters of administration in NSW is necessary if the deceased didn't leave a will. In this case, the court usually grants letters of administration to the person who inherits most under intestacy rules (when someone dies without a will).
As letters of administration give you authority over their estate, you must apply as soon as possible after the person's death. They may also be required when there is a Will, and all executors in the Will either choose not to fulfil the role's responsibilities or are unable to act.
Who can apply for a letter of administration in New South Wales?
The Probate and Administration Act 1898 outlines the list of eligible people to apply for a letter of administration in New South Wales. Typically, the court will issue the grant to an adult entitled to inherit a portion or entire estate.
If there is more than one person who is eligible to apply. In that case, they can jointly apply, or one person can apply with endorsement through a written affidavit by the other beneficiaries. If the beneficiaries can't agree on who should apply, the court will usually grant the closest living relative, such as a spouse or children.
Things to consider before applying
Before you can apply for letters of administration NSW, you'll need to check that there isn't already a will. If the deceased left a valid will and appointed an executor, they are responsible for administering their estate.
If there is no will, letters of administration may go to the person who inherits most under intestacy rules. However, there are some other things you'll need to consider before applying for letters of administration NSW:
- You must be over 18 years old and act competently.
- You can’t have a criminal conviction
- You must not be bankrupt or insolvent
If you meet all of these criteria, it is time to start the application for letters of administration. The first step is to complete the letters of administration application form and lodge it at your local Supreme Court registry.
How to apply for letters of administration in New South Wales
When applying for letters of administration in New South Wales, it is important to understand the process. The letters of administration application form contain strict instructions that must be adhered to, or the court could reject your submission.
- Ensure there is no valid Will
- Obtain a death certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
- Determine who is entitled and should apply under the rules of intestacy
- Submit a Notice of intention on the NSW online registry
- Complete the necessary forms
- File your application with the Supreme Court of NSW
- Receive the grant of letters of administration
What is the fee to apply for a letter of administration in NSW?
The letters of administration NSW application fee varies depending on the value of the deceased's estate. As of February 2022, the fee to apply ranges from $0.00 (if the total estate value is less than $100,000) to $5,948.00.
If your letters of administration NSW application is successful, you may also be able to claim back the cost of your letters of administration application fee.
How long does the process take?
The whole process of applying for letters of administration in NSW can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. You must apply within six months of the death. Once the application is submitted, the registry aims to process the application within five business days.
The time it takes to receive the grant will depend on how complex the deceased's estate is and how many beneficiaries are involved.
What happens after obtaining a letter of administration?
Once the court has issued a letter of administration, you will receive a sealed copy that must be kept in a safe place. The official document will provide proof of authority to handle the deceased’s assets at their respective bank or financial institution.
If there is no Will, you must also advertise your appointment in a local newspaper so that any creditors or other interested parties know who is administering the estate. You should then pay any deceased's debts before distributing the remaining estate.
Are letters of administration in NSW always granted?
The court doesn’t always grant Letters of administration. If this happens, you can ask for reasons from the court and may reapply if you can address the issues raised. Sometimes they might feel another person entitled to the estate is a better fit.
Letters of administration in NSW is sometimes a tricky and complex process, but with the right information and support, you can get it done quickly. The key is to ensure you have all the necessary documents and follow the instructions laid out by the NSW Supreme Court.