LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION (QLD)
What are Letters of Administration?
Sometimes it is necessary to appoint a person (usually a next of kin) as administrator of a deceased estate.
The process of applying to the Supreme Court of Queensland to obtain a grant of Letters of Administration validates and confirms the authority of that person as the appointed administrator of the estate.
There are two common Letters of Administration applications, including:
- Applications for Letters of Administration with the Will. This application applies where the deceased left a Will but the Executor appointed under that Will is unable to perform the function of Executor and the Will made no provision for an alternative Executor;
- Applications for Letters of Administration on Intestacy (when a person dies without a Will). This application applies where a person dies without a Will at all.
Is a grant of Letters of Administration required?
Like Probate, a grant of Letters of Administration is commonly obtained to satisfy the requirements of an asset holder of the estate prior to estate funds being released. A grant will certainly be required if a claim is made against the deceased estate to confirm the authority of the administrator in defending the claim.
Who can apply for Letters of Administration?
The Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) sets out the priority of persons who can apply for grants of Letters of Administration.
For Letters of Administration applications on intestacy the descending order of priority refers to the deceased’s next of kin including:
- Grandchildren or great-grandchildren.
- Parent or parents.
- Brothers or sisters.
- Nieces or nephews.
- Grandparent or grandparents.
- Uncles or aunts.
- First cousins.
- If there is no surviving family from the above categories then any other person may seek to apply to the Court.
For Letters of Administration applications with the Will the descending order of priority of potential applicants includes:
- A trustee of the residuary estate.
- A remainderman of the residuary estate.
- Another residuary beneficiary.
- A person otherwise entitled to a part or the whole of the residuary estate.
- A specific or pecuniary legatee.
- A creditor or other person who has acquired the entire beneficial interest under the Will.
- Any other person the Court may appoint.
How do you apply for Letters of Administration?
The first step is to identify the person with the highest priority to make the application. Where there are two or more people with the same level of priority a decision should be made about whether a joint appointment will be sought or not.
Once the proposed administrator has been identified, a similar process to Probate applications is adopted which involves:
- Advertising a notice of intention to apply for a grant in an approved newspaper and in the Queensland Law Reporter.
- Serving a copy of the notice of intention to apply on the Public Trustee of Queensland.
- Preparing the court documentation to file in the Supreme Court of Queensland. This ordinarily includes an Application, Affidavit of Administrator, Affidavit of Publication and exhibits including the original Death Certificate.
- The Application and associated documents can not be filed in the Supreme Court of Queensland until after a period 14 days has passed from the date when the notice of intention to apply was advertised.
- Responding to any queries raised by the Court in relation to the Application.
- Receiving the sealed grant of Letters of Administration.
If you are uncertain about who should be appointed as administrator of a deceased estate, contact our experienced probate lawyers today and receive expert advice about your circumstances.
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