Skip links and keyboard navigation

Letters of administration

If a person dies without leaving a will, the court can make a similar grant of probate, known as letters of administration. For instance, a de facto spouse can apply for letters of administration.

As there is no executor, the next-of-kin takes on the role of dealing with the deceased’s estate. This cannot be done until a grant of letters of administration is made.

Letters of administration are essentially the same as a grant of probate. The letters show that the court has examined the relevant documents and is satisfied that the person named in the letters has the authority to administer the estate.

Common questions

How is the estate divided if there is no will?

The assets go to the next-of-kin according to schedule set out in the Succession Act 1981. Changes made to the Act in 1997 recognise de facto relationships of five years in this situation.

What is the procedure for applying for letters of administration?

The procedure is basically the same as for a grant of probate. Generally, the only difference is that the documents you supply do not include a will.

Can searches be done through the mail?

Requests for searches can be done through the mail. However, there is a fee if the file number is unknown.

If you can include the deceased’s name and date of death it will help the registry to complete the process quickly.

Where can I get help?

It’s a good idea to consult a solicitor before applying for either a grant of probate or letters of administration.

Appropriate legal advice and assistance may save you time and money.

The court has the power to make wills on behalf of minors and people who do not have the mental capacity to make a valid will. If you need to prepare such a will it is suggested that you consult a solicitor before proceeding as the process can be difficult and time-consuming.


Last reviewed
22 June 2011
Last updated
11 February 2015

Rate this page

  1. How useful was the information on this page?
 

Close window

Send this page to a friend