Understanding Letters of Administration (where the deceased is without a Will)

Letters of Administration

Obtaining a grant of Letters of Administration is the process where the person entitled to appointment as administrator of the estate applies to the Queensland Supreme Court for the grant of Letters of Administration, which confirms the person entitled to administer the estate of the deceased person.

The manner of administration and subsequent distribution is governed by the Succession Act and varies according to whether the deceased is survived by a spouse and/or children. The entitlement of those persons varies on the number of children. For example, if the deceased is survived by a spouse and children, then the spouse is entitled to $150,000, the household chattels and 1/3 of the residuary estate then remaining. The balance of the remaining estate is then divided equally between the children.

Any beneficiary is able to renounce (express that they do not want to share) any part of the estate, which would then result in the remaining beneficiaries receiving their share. For example, if any children of the deceased renounced their entitlement to the deceased’s estate, then the surviving spouse would receive the whole of the residuary estate.

The administrator has a legal responsibility to ensure that all of the debts of the deceased are paid before the residue of the estate is distributed in accordance with the terms of the Letters of Administration.

As part of the process, the application is advertised so that any person that knows of the existence of any Will, and creditors of the deceased, have any opportunity to come forward and make their claim against the estate before the estate is distributed.

When the necessary advertising in completed and the appropriate Affidavits have been field, the Court issues a sealed copy of the Letters of Administration which affirms that the Court has given approval that the estate be administered by the appointed administration, in the way stated in the Letters of Administration. The administrator named in the Letters of Administration is the legal personal representative of the estate.

No grant of letters of administration may be made within 30 days of the date of death of the deceased, unless the Court considers urgent circumstances exist to warrant an earlier grant being made before the expiry of the 30 days.

The steps involved are as follows:

  • Advertise intention to apply for Letters of Administration inlocal newspaper and Queensland Law Reporter;
  • Serve Notice of Intention to apply for Letters of Administration upon the Public Trustee;
  • Prepare affidavits for signing by the administrator and any person renouncing any right; and
  • After expiry of the 14 day notification to the Public Trustee, file application documents with the Supreme Court of Queensland.
  • Once the Letters of Administration are issued by the Court, the administrator is able to administer the estate in the manner required by the Succession Act.

Contact Information

Direct Line: 1300 068 736