APPLY FOR LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION
VICTORIA

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WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR THINGS WHEN YOU PASS AWAY?

When someone passes away, they often leave behind property, assets and sometimes debt. This is known as their ‘estate’ and it needs to be managed and finalised.

THIS INVOLVES:

  1. Collecting all property and assets
  2. Paying any debts
  3. Distributing the assets according to the Will if there is one, or the laws of intestacy if there is not.

Where there is a valid Will, the estate is finalised by the executor, or executors (where more than one is appointed). Often, this process begins with applying for Probate.

Where there is no valid Will, the closest next-of-kin can finalise the estate. This process may involve applying for Letters of Administration (LOA).

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOMEONE PASSES AWAY WITHOUT A WILL?

Someone who passes away without a valid Will has died intestate. To deal with the property and assets they have left behind, someone who is entitled to benefit from the estate, usually the deceased’s closest next-of-kin, can apply for Letters of Administration.

WHAT ARE LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION?

Letters of Administration are issued by the Supreme Court to the person who is legally entitled to deal with the property and assets of someone who has passed away without a valid will. This person is appointed Administrator of the estate.

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WHO CAN APPLY FOR LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION?

Someone who is entitled to benefit from the deceased person’s estate can apply for Letters of Administration. This is usually the deceased’s closest next-of-kin.

Each State has its own laws around who is entitled to benefit from the deceased estate, and the order in which people can apply.

The Supreme Court of Victoria website provides that you can apply for Administration in the following order of priority:

  1. Lawful spouse or domestic partner

  2. Children, excluding step children, but including children adopted by the deceased

  3. Grandchildren

  4. Parents

  5. Brothers or sisters

  6. Remoter next of kin

Disclaimer: Probate Consultants do not provide any legal advice in relation to who is able to apply for Letters of Administration or how the estate must be distributed once the grant has been issued.

WHAT IS INVOLVED IN APPLYING FOR LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION?

Applying for Letters of Administration is the same process as applying for Probate.

VICTORIA & NEW SOUTH WALES
The process involves:

  • Advertising your intention to apply
  • Completing the Application forms
  • Preparing all supporting documents
  • Lodging the application on the 15th day after the advertisement was published

The application and advertisement are drafted differently, however, the process and administrative costs are the same.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

We are not currently assisting clients in WA to apply for Letters of Administration. We aim to launch this service soon.

THE APPLICATION PROCESS

Much of the information we have provided about Probate applies to applications for Letters of Administration, including:

  • When you need to apply
  • How to apply
  • The costs involved
  • How long the process takes

PROBATE

  • There is a valid Will
  • Executor(s) named in the Will apply for the Grant
  • Executor(s) administer and finalise the estate
  • Property and Assets in the estate are distributed to those entitled under the Will

LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION

  • No valid Will
  • Closest next-of-kin applies for the Grant
  • Next-of-kin administers and finalises estate
  • Property and Assets distributed according to the laws of intestacy

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION ARE GRANTED?

If their application is successful, the deceased’s closest next-of-kin receives a Grant of Letters of Administration. This is a legal document which appoints them Administrator of the deceased estate and is evidence of their authority to deal with the property and assets left behind.

The Administrator is responsible for:

  1. Collecting all property and assets
  2. Paying any debts
  3. Distributing the estate according to the laws of intestacy

WHAT ARE THE LAWS OF INTESTACY?

VICTORIA

When a person dies in Victoria without leaving a valid Will, the property and assets they leave behind must be distributed according to the provisions of Part IA – Intestacy of the Administration and Probate Act 1958 (VIC).

NEW SOUTH WALES

Chapter 4 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) outlines the order in which eligible relatives will inherit the estate of a deceased person.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

In Western Australia, Section 14 of the Administration Act 1903 (WA) outlines how the property and assets of someone who has died intestate must be distributed.

Probate Consultants cannot provide you legal advice in relation to how to distribute a deceased estate in accordance with the laws of intestacy.

The following resources may be helpful:

Legal Aid Victoria   |  The Law Handbook (VIC)    |   Legal Aid Western Australia  |   Supreme Court of NSW

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