When someone dies in Victoria, and they leave behind assets, the next of kin must obtain letters of administration to manage the deceased person's estate. This process can be complex, and it's essential to understand what is involved.
In this guide, we explain the process of obtaining letters of administration VIC. We will also discuss the duties of an administrator and the fees for obtaining letters of administration. Before applying, it’s essential to find out if the person passed away with a valid will.
Letters of Administration VIC (without a will)
If a person dies without a valid will, it's known as dying intestate. In this situation, there is no executor to administer the estate, and the deceased's next of kin needs to apply for letters of administration.
According to the Supreme Court of Victoria, you can apply for letters of administration without a will in the following order:
- Spouse or partner
- Children (excludes stepchildren but includes adopted children)
- Removed next of kin
Letters of Administration (with a will)
To apply for letters of administration with the will annexed, you must be the major beneficiary of the will, and the executor is unable or unwilling to act. For example, when the executor named doesn’t want to be the executor anymore.
Notice of Intention to Apply (VIC)
In Victoria, you need to publish a notice of an intended application. You must publish this advertisement on the probate online advertisement system at least 15 days before filing your application with the probate office.
If you are applying for letters of administration in Victoria with the Will Annexed, your notice of intended application and supporting affidavit must refer to any executors that are choosing not to apply. This step confirms their consent for one person to apply.
How long does it take to receive letters of administration?
Typically, it takes 4-6 weeks for the Supreme Court of Victoria to process an application for letters of administration. This process can take longer if the court has additional questions or concerns about the application.
What are the fees for letters of administration in VIC?
The fees to apply for letters of administration in Victoria, according to the Supreme Court of Victoria, depends on the gross value of the estate. For example, if the gross value is less than $500,000 it’s $62.20 but if the gross value is more than $3,000,000 it’s $2,103.00.
You also need to pay a fee of $23.70 to advertise your notice of intention to apply. If you become the representation of the estate, you can also file for a request of notification of application for executor’s commission.
Letters of administration (durante dementia)
In Victoria, the Supreme Court offers guidance for unusual letters of administration applications. These applications include letters of administration durante dementia. This application is applicable when the sole beneficiary is mentally incapable of applying for a grant.
Grants to Attorneys
A grant to attorney applies when the person entitled to a grant of administration is resident outside of Victoria and the grant goes to an attorney instead. The grant to attorney is limited until the person entitled to the grant obtains a grant.
Small Estates Optional Service
Unlike other states and territories across Australia, the Probate Office in Victoria offers a service to assist with applications for probate and administration for small estates. An entitle person who needs to apply for a letter of administration may use this service.
What is considered a small estate?
A small estate is the total value of the person’s assets when they die. The maximum value is set by the government and changes each financial year. For the 2021/22 financial year, the maximum value of a small estate is $112,970.
Forms for a small estate application VIC
If you are applying for a small estate application in Victoria, you need the following documents:
- Certified copy of the death certificate
- Original will (if there is one)
- Details of the assets
After receiving a grant of letters of administration
In Victoria, the role of the Probate Office ends when you receive the grant of administration. After receiving the grant of letters of administration, there are several things you need to do as an Administrator, including:
- Notifying all entitled person’s and beneficiaries of your appointment as Administrator
- Paying the deceased’s debts using money left in the estate or by selling their assets (if necessary)
- Getting a valuation report for any superannuation or insurance benefits payable to the estate
- Sell or transfer any property
- Decide how to distribute assets and money in the estate
Letter of administration service for large estates
Applying for letters of administration for large estates is typically a long and complex process that requires careful consideration. While it’s possible to apply for letters of administration without engaging a letter of administration service, you may need one if:
- The estate has considerable assets;
- There are multiple beneficiaries with equal or similar priority;
- You wish to appoint more than one administrator, but those Administrators do not live in the same state or are unsure of what to do.
Applying for Letters of Administration in Victoria requires a few more components when compared to other parts of Australia. We recommend enlisting to help of a letter of administration service in Australia such as Willed.
Together, we can help ensure the process is efficient and easy.
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