LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION
Each State has its own laws governing the administration of the estate of an
intestate person. In TAS, the applicable laws are the
Administration and Probate ACT 1935 and the Supreme
Court Rules 2000 (TAS). This kit will
state the law as it applies in TAS. If the deceased
was domiciled in TAS and the assets are in
TAS then the law of TAS will be the applicable law.
Applications are filed at the Probate Office of the Supreme Court of
(contact details are provided at the back of the kit). A grant of Letters of
Administration will generally be issued by the Court within 6 working days of
the application being filed unless additional information is required. If
further information is needed, requests, known as requisitions, will generally
be sent out by letter within 3 working days.
When intestacy occurs
When a person dies leaving real property (land or anything attached to it) or
personal property of any kind, that property must be distributed. The deceased
can direct, during his or her lifetime, how the estate is to be distributed
after death by drawing up a will. Intestacy occurs when either the whole or part
of the deceasedís estate is not disposed of by a will. Total intestacy occurs
when the deceased failed to make a will at all, failed to make a valid will or
made a valid will but all the beneficiaries have since died. Partial intestacy
occurs when the deceased made a valid will but the terms of the will do not
dispose of the whole of the estate.
Do I need to obtain letters of administration?
Not necessarily. The main reason that a grant of letters of administration is
required is that some organisations which hold assets of the estate will not
release them to the administrator for distribution without sight of a grant of
representation from the Supreme Court. You will need to make a list of
everything the deceased owned or was entitled to and then make contact with the
financial institutions concerned to establish whether they require a grant. This
will be more relevant for smaller estates. For larger estates comprising real
estate, a grant of representation will almost certainly be required.
The distribution of an intestate estate
State law allows for the appointment of an administrator to administrate the
deceasedís estate in the absence of a will appointing an executor chosen by the
deceased. This person is given the duty of paying any debts the estate owed and
distributing the assets in accordance with the rules of intestacy. They are
given legal authority to act under a court order which is known as the grant of
letters of administration.
Who can apply for letters of administration?
Administration and Probate ACT 1935 sets out who can
be appointed as an administrator. The Court can appoint a spouse (Including de
facto), one or more of the next of kin or the spouse together with one or more
of the next of kin. If no such person exists or if, in the opinion of the court,
the person concerned is not fit to be trusted with the responsibility, the Court
can grant administration to any person it thinks fit.
The role of the administrator
On the grant of administration of the deceasedís estate, all the deceasedís
assets become vested with (become the property of) the administrator. For
example, if the deceased held shares in a company, upon seeing the grant from
the court, the company will register the administrator as the shareholder in
place of the deceased. This will enable the administrator to sell the shares and
distribute the proceeds in accordance with the intestacy rules discussed below.
The legal authority of the administrator to deal with the deceased personís
estate has been confirmed by the court. This will satisfy those institutions who
hold the deceasedís assets that the administrator has the authority to deal with
those assets and will give the administrator some protection from liability in
dealing with the estate.
The purpose of the State rules of intestacy
Intestacy occurs quite frequently in Australia. The aim
of the legislation in each state is to try and produce the same sort of
result as if the deceased had made a will. It identifies the deceasedís closest
relatives as the main beneficiaries and assumes that these are the people that
the deceased would most want to benefit. The rules make assumptions about who
the deceased is closest to. The rules do not therefore take account of
individual circumstances. The rules are designed to act as a safety net to
protect those who have failed for whatever reason to direct what they would like
to happen to their assets when they die.
Can I apply for Letters of Administration myself?
Yes. AussieLegal offers a number of legal kits that are specifically designed to
help family members make a personal application and save thousands in legal
Letters of Administration Plus $1,250.00
Independent solicitors and paralegals will do all the hard work and prepare all correspondence and the
application to the Supreme Court on your behalf.