When applying for a letter of administration in Australia, you need to file your application within six months of the person’s death. If it's beyond this time, you need to complete an affidavit of delay. In this guide, we take you through the seven steps to apply for letters of administration, including important forms that you need to collect.
1) Search for a will
Before you apply for letters of administration, you should search for a will. You can do this by looking through the deceased’s personal belongings or inspecting their safe deposit box. Contact trustees, executors, and lawyers involved in the deceased person’s affairs if you don't find one there.
You may be able to search online using the deceased person’s name and date of death. You can also look at probate index records if you know the deceased person’s date of birth, death or last known address.
This step is important because a will may give instructions on administering the estate, for example, who should act as an executor. This may vary from state to state, so it’s important you know what the deceased person’s wishes were.
2) Obtain a death certificate
To apply for letters of administration, you’ll need to present the court with a certified copy of the death certificate. You can order this from Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state where the person died. You are required to pay a fee each time you get a copy of the death certificate.
The cost may depend on where you live and how many copies you want. You may be able to request a death certificate online as well. You will need to provide the deceased person's full name, date of birth, date of death, and last known address.
Read more: How to Get a Death Certificate in Australia
3) Determine who is entitled to apply under intestacy rules
The deceased’s estate will be distributed according to the intestacy rules if they didn’t leave a will or there wasn’t a valid will. The intestacy laws vary from state to state in Australia, so you should learn how it applies to your situation.
You can do this by checking the ‘intestacy rules’ on the Births, Deaths and Marriages website.
An administrator is entitled to act if an eligible relative or a creditor of the estate. You can apply for letters of administration if you’re a spouse or parent of the deceased person. If this doesn’t apply to your situation, you need to ensure the estate passes to another eligible person.
You can find out more about who’s entitled to apply for letters of administration in each state below:
4) Advertise a notice of your intention to apply for a grant of Letters of Administration
Before applying for letters of administration, you must publish a notice of your intention to apply on the relevant probate database. The notice must appear at least 14 days before submitting your application and include the deceased’s name, date of death and last known address.
Here are the relevant online probate and letters of administration registries for each state and territory in Australia:
5) Complete and file the forms
You must sign the application yourself unless you have a valid enduring power of attorney. You will also need to pay a fee when you apply for letters of administration. The amount varies from state to state and changes regularly.
To make sure your application is processed as quickly as possible, ensure all the information requested on the form is complete and accurate. Here are the five most common documents you'll need to submit for the letters of administration application:
- Summons of administration. This form includes basic information, including the deceased's full name, the date of death, where the deceased lived, the gross and net value of the estate, and the applicant's capacity.
- Grant of administration. The grant of administration outlines who is applying for the grant, the basis of the application and any limitations of the grant. The inventory of the property must attach to the copy of the grant of administration.
- Inventory of property. This form list and describes the properties owned solely and jointly by the deceased. It also includes the estimated or known value and the total value of the properties.
- Affidavit of applicant for administration. This document will include an explanation that the deceased did not leave a will, how you searched for the will, a list of people entitled to share the estate, your proof of entitlement and more.
- Affidavit that deceased was not in a de facto relationship (if applicable). If the deceased was not in a de facto relationship at the time of death, you need to file an affidavit.
6) Obtain consent from other entitled people
If there are other people entitled to a portion of the estate according to the rule of intestacy, you should ask each of them to sign consent to you being the administrator of the estate.
7) Submit your application and supporting documents online
After collecting the necessary documents and completing the forms correctly, you can submit your application. You must wait 14 days after your notice of applying before submitting. There is a filing fee if the estate's value exceeds $100,000. The filing fee will vary depending on the estate and state.
Application for Letters of Administration Service
The process of applying for a grant of letters of administration from the Supreme Court can quickly derail if you don't properly complete the necessary forms or collect the correct documents.
To help ensure you feel confident and stress-free during the process, consider a Letters of Administration service. Willed's team of expert lawyers enables you to complete the forms, submit your notice and file your application.