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What is Letters of Administration?

Letters of Administration is a Supreme Court order confirming the administrator’s authority to deal with the estate of a person who has died with no Will.


If the deceased has left a will but there is no executor because they:

  • had died

  • refuse to act

  • cannot act or

  • were not appointed correctly in the will

then the order is called letters of administration with the will annexed.


An administrator has similar responsibilities to those of an executor.


Who can apply for letters of administration?

Usually, the applicant is entitled to benefit from the deceased’s estate under section 14 of the Administration Act 1903.


These are several examples:

  • If the deceased is survived by their spouse and adult children then the spouse and the children are entitled to apply

  • If the deceased was survived by their adult children but had no spouse (married or de facto) then all children are entitled to apply

  • If the deceased was not survived by a spouse and children the siblings and parents of the deceased may apply.


If there is more than one person entitled to apply for letters of administration do they have to apply?

Sometimes there is more than one person entitled to apply for letters of administration or letters of administration with will annexed. If one or more persons entitled to apply do not wish to apply then they can consent for the other eligible person or persons to apply.


What are sureties or guarantees or a section 17A deed?

If there is a beneficiary under 18 the applicant must find 2 people to guarantee they, the sureties or guarantors, will make good any financial loss that the minor beneficiary might suffer because of the applicant's actions. This is to make sure the minor beneficiary's interest is protected.


What documents do I have to file with my application for letters of administration?

The documents you must file with your letters of administration application are:

  • a motion for letters of administration

  • an affidavit from you, the applicant, with a statement of the deceased's assets and liabilities

  • letters of consent from all other people entitled to benefit from the estate who aren't applying

  • any sureties, guarantees, or Section 17A Deeds if there are minor beneficiaries

  • the deceased's death certificate – the original and a copy.

You must pay the lodgement fee at the time of applying.


The documents you must file with your letters of administration with the will annexed application are:

  • the above documents required for the letters of administration application plus

  • the original marked will

  • an affidavit of due execution from a witness if needed.

If the task of preparing the application is daunting call us on 0421 145 637 or just book a video consultation at this link to discuss how we can help you.


Estate planning glossary

  • Administrator - a person appointed by law to settle the affairs of someone who dies without a Will. Usually this is a person or persons entitled to receive all or some of the deceased’s estate.

  • Will - a legal declaration of how a person wishes their possessions to be disposed of after they die.

  • Grant of Letters of administration - a Court Order confirming a person's or persons’ authority to deal with Estate of a person who died intestate, leaving no Will.

  • Grant of Letters of administration with the will annexed - a Court Order confirming a person's or persons’ authority to deal with Estate of a person who died leaving a Will, but there is no executor available to apply for probate. This happens when the Will did not name an executor or the sole executor has died or is otherwise unwilling or unable to act (eg. they have lost mental capacity).

  • Motion - a motion is a list of requests that you are asking the Court to grant.

  • Affidavit - a voluntary statement in writing, sworn before a nominated official, such as notary public, solicitor or Justice of the Peace. Affidavits are used in probate applications and other court related matters.