Probate and Letters of Administration


Where a person has died with a Will it is necessary to apply to the Supreme Court for Probate which essentially is a legal process to prove that the Will of the deceased was their last Will and Testament. Once Probate has been obtained an Executor of the Estate will be entitled to administer and distribute the deceased’s estate in accordance with the Will.

Letters of Administration

Letters of Administration arise where a person dies without a Will (intestate) or an invalid Will. To obtain Letters of Administration is a more complicated legal process than obtaining Probate of a Will. Where a person has died intestate, the Succession Act 2006 deals with the distribution of the assets of the deceased to a spouse, children, parents etc. Should you wish to discuss Probate or Letters of Administration please do not hesitate to contact us on 02 4228 5911.


Applying for Letters of Administration involves a legal process typically used to manage the estate of someone who has passed away without leaving a valid will (intestate). Letters of Administration is a document issued by the Supreme Court that grants authority to the administrator (the person appointed by the court) to manage and distribute the deceased person’s assets and liabilities. The process can vary by jurisdiction, so it’s important to consult the laws and regulations specific to your location.

As a general overview the steps involved are as follows:

1. Confirm Eligibility: Before applying for Letters of Administration, you need to ensure that you are eligible to be appointed as an administrator. In most cases, immediate family members (spouse, children, parents) are given priority. If no eligible family member is available, the court may appoint another suitable person.

2. Gather Necessary Documents: You will need to gather documents such as the death certificate of the deceased person, their identification documents, information about their assets and liabilities, information about the eligible beneficiaries entitled to the estate pursuant to the intestacy laws of your jurisdiction and any other relevant documents.

3. Apply to the Court: You will need to file a Summons and Affidavit with the appropriate court. This may involve filling out specific forms and providing information about the deceased person, their estate, and your relationship to them.

4. Pay Fees: There are usually filing fees associated with applying for Letters of Administration. The fees can vary based on your location and value of the estate.

5. Inventory and Valuation: As the administrator, you will need to create an inventory of the deceased person’s assets and liabilities. This includes valuing their properties, bank accounts, investments, debts, etc.

6. Issuance of Letters of Administration: If the court approves your application, they will issue Letters of Administration granting you the authority to manage the deceased person’s estate.

7. Settle Debts and Taxes: You will need to use the estate’s assets to pay off any outstanding debts and taxes owed by the deceased person.

8. Distribute the Estate: Following the settlement of debts and taxes, you will distribute the remaining assets to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries according to the laws of intestate succession in your jurisdiction.

It’s crucial to consult with a legal professional or an estate lawyer in your jurisdiction to get accurate and up-to-date information regarding the specific process for applying for Letters of Administration. Laws and procedures can vary widely, and it’s important to ensure that you are following the correct steps to manage the estate appropriately and legally.

The duration of the probate process in New South Wales (NSW), can vary significantly depending on various factors. Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate, which includes validating the deceased’s will and distributing their assets according to the will’s instructions.

The time it takes for probate to be granted can depend on factors such as the complexity of the estate, the accuracy and completeness of the documentation provided, any disputes that may arise, and the workload of the local probate registry. On average, it could take anywhere from a few months to a year or more for probate to be granted in NSW.

It’s important to note that probate timelines can change over time due to factors such as changes in legal processes, court procedures, and administrative efficiencies. It’s recommended to consult with a legal professional or check the most up-to-date information from the Supreme Court of New South Wales or a reliable legal source for the latest information on probate timelines in NSW.

After probate is granted, the administration of the deceased person’s estate enters a new phase. Probate is the legal process by which a court validates a deceased person’s will and oversees the. distribution of their assets according to the terms of the will. Once probate is granted, here are the typical steps that follow:

1. Notification of Beneficiaries and Heirs: The executor is responsible for notifying beneficiaries and heirs.

2. Payment of Debts and Taxes: The estate’s debts and taxes, including any outstanding loans, bills, and taxes owed by the deceased person, must be paid using the assets from the estate. This might involve selling assets to cover the liabilities.

3. Distribution of Assets: Once debts, taxes, and other expenses have been settled, the remaining assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will. This distribution must align with the deceased person’s wishes outlined in the will.

If you’re involved in the probate process, it’s recommended to consult with legal professionals who specialise in estate law to ensure that you fulfil your duties and responsibilities correctly.

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