What are Letters of Administration?

Letters of Administration is a court order that confirms the authority of the person whom administration is granted to and the death of the person whose estate is being administered.

Letters of Administration are normally made when a Will is not left or for other technical reasons. The Court is therefore careful to ensure that the person to whom administration is granted is someone who has an interest in the estate.

It follows that Letters of Administration is a relatively complex process and can arise in unusual circumstances, including after Grant of Probate has been issued.

Do I need to apply for Letters of Administration in NSW?

You may need to apply to Letters of Administration if the deceased person died owning a house or land or some other asset of significant value such as bank accounts, shares, or superannuation.

You may also wish to apply for Letters of Administration because someone else may apply for Letters of Administration and you do not trust that person to administer the estate properly.

How long does it take to obtain Letters of Administration in NSW?

It normally takes at least eight weeks to obtain Letters of Administration is granted by the Supreme Court. The NSW Supreme Court websites estimates 20 days, but this tends to be exceeded for letters of administration and complex grants.

What are the duties of an Administrator in NSW?

The duties of an Administrator in NSW are the same as the duties of an Executor.

However, where an Executor has whatever flexibility granted to them under the Will there is often no Will in the context of the Letters of Administration and so there is nothing to broaden the authority of the administrator.

The administrator must administer the estate promptly and according to law. They cannot show favour or benefit one beneficiary more than anyone else, particularly themselves.

Timothy Morton, Director FGD

Timothy Morton

Director – Wills & Probate Lawyer

Tim has acted in a number of complex probate litigation cases where the capacity and knowledge and approval of the willmaker was in doubt or where there have been concerns about whether the willmaker was unduly influenced by another person. Tim also regularly appears in the Guardianship Tribunal of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Tim holds a Master of Laws (Applied Law) majoring in Wills & Estates, he teaches and tutors Wills & Estates at the Australian National University, and he is a member of the ACT Law Society’s Elder Law & Succession Committee.

Read More about Tim >