What is letters of administration?
Letters of administration is a court order made by the Supreme Court of New South Wales which allows the administrator (the person who is appointed by the court) to distribute the deceased’s assets.
When to apply for letters of administration
There are two circumstances when letters of administration can be applied:
- The deceased person dies without a will (intestate)
- The deceased person left a will but there is no executor available to apply for a grant of probate. For example, if the will did not name an executor, or the sole executor has died or is otherwise unwilling or unable to act.
If a deceased person dies without a Will, their estate will be inherited by your relatives in an order set out by the law (Intestacy Rules). The order is as follows: Spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. If you do not have eligible relatives, your estate will pass to the Crown (i.e. the State of NSW).
Who can apply?
Usually, the deceased’s ‘next of kin’, which is the deceased’s closest relative can apply for the grant.
The court may grant administration to:
- the spouse of the deceased
- one or more of the next of kin
- the spouse jointly with other relatives.
If there is no next of kin or none that are appropriate or willing to apply for the grant, then the Court may grant administration to:
- NSW Trustee & Guardian, or
- any other person the court thinks fit.
Timeframe to apply
You must apply for letters of administration within 6 months from the date of death, unless there is a reasonable explanation for the delay. If you apply after 6 months, you will need to file an affidavit of delay at the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
Professional costs in obtaining Letters of Administration are regulated by the Legal Profession Uniform Application Act 2004 which calculates the professional costs according to the gross value of the estate’s assets. Castro Legal will provide to you full disclosure of the costs before commencing an application for Letters of Administration.
Contact us today to speak to an experienced wills and estates lawyer who will assist you to obtain letters of administration.