Understanding Letters of Administration & When You Need Them

Rose Lawyers on 18 December 2014

Letters of Administration is an Order granted by the Supreme Court which gives a person the legal right to deal with the estate of a deceased person. This kind of Court Order is necessary when the deceased person in question died without leaving a valid Will.

In legal terminology, if a person dies without a valid Will, it is called dying ‘intestate.’ When a person dies intestate, it is often still necessary for someone to obtain the legal right to administer the deceased estate. This may include any property, bank accounts, superannuation funds and other assets that the deceased person has left behind.

If a person dies with a legal Will, the person who administers the estate is the Executor of the Will. However, when someone dies intestate, it is up to the Supreme Court to appoint an ‘Administrator’ to undertake this task. As there is no Will to confer this authority, Letters of Administration gives the Administrator the right to deal with the intestate’s assets and to distribute them to any beneficiaries in accordance with the Wills Act.

When Do I Need Letters of Administration?

Letters of Administration must be applied for whenever someone dies intestate, leaving behind an estate that is valued over a certain amount or an estate that contains real property.

Why Should I Choose Rose Lawyers to Help with my Letters of Administration?

The death of a loved one is an incredibly difficult time. It is already hard enough without the added stresses of legal process. Rose Lawyers is familiar with the intricacies of Letters of Administration, and will be able to handle the process in a sensitive and professional manner.

Considerations Relevant to Letters of Administration

It is much better to have a Will than to rely on the intestacy provisions of the Wills Act. If you die intestate, leaving behind a spouse and children, the intestacy provisions dictate that your spouse will be entitled to the first $100,000 and 1/3 of whatever is left over. The remaining 2/3 of the estate will rightfully pass onto your children.

If you leave a valid Will, you can ensure that your assets go to the people or organisations of your choosing – not the people that legislation dictates.

Many people express concerns that, if they die without a valid Will, their money will go to the government. In actual fact, the intestacy provisions of the Wills Act provide for a wide range of beneficiaries that receive entitlements on a hierarchy of sorts, even branching out to cousins and more distant relations.

Summary

Letters of Administration is an Order issued by the relevant Supreme Court which gives an Administrator the legal right to administer a deceased person’s estate. Letters of Administration must be applied whenever someone dies without a valid Will – called dying ‘intestate’ – leaving behind an estate over a certain value, or an estate that contains real property.

The death of a loved one is difficult; it is a time when you don’t need the added stresses of legal process. Our lawyers can help alleviate the stresses by handling the application process with sensitivity and professionalism.

If you would like help applying for Letters of Administration, contact Rose Lawyers on 03 9878 5222.