If a close relative has passed away, the Succession Act prescribes that only several processes can be used to pass the assets of their estate to another. These processes are probate, letters of administration or a will. In most cases, a will or a probate process carries the day. However, in other instances, letters of administration are required. Read on to learn more.
What are letters of administration?
Letters of administration are legal documents that give you the power to manage and operate the estate of the deceased person. For practicality purposes, it is better to think of them as a mandate or an authority. The letters of administration are granted to the person closest to the deceased, e.g. a next of kin, a spouse, a child, a de-facto partner, etc. In some cases, the letters may be granted to several people jointly.
When are they needed?
Letters of administration are only needed where there is a grey area in regards to the executor of the estate or the will. Cumulatively, the letters are needed where:
What is the process of getting the letters of administration?
To get letters of administration, an application for the letters of administration must be filed with the Supreme Court. After that, a notice has to be published online, declaring the intent to file the application. If no one opposes the filing, the necessary legal forms are filled out and a grant of letters of administration is issued by the court.
You can either undertake this process alone or you can seek out a solicitor to do it for you at a fee.
What is the importance of getting letters of administration?
Letters of administration are vital because they allow one to manage the estate of the deceased. This refers to their bank accounts, private deposit boxes, land, investments, and other business interests. With this mandate, you can pay creditors, transfer ownership of assets to heirs, manage the property on behalf of the heirs or take over the estate as the sole heir. If there is a will in place, the letters of administration give you the mandate and responsibility to honour it.
Stranded about how to transfer your inherited property? Talk to a solicitor about letters of administration and find out if they are what you need.
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