A grant of Letters of Administration is a legal document sealed by the Supreme Court of New South Wales. It is usually used when the deceased did not leave a will, or the original will cannot be located. It authorises the applicant (or applicant’s) to manage the estate of a deceased person in accordance with the intestacy provisions in the Succession Act (NSW) 2006. Once the application of Letters of Administration is granted, the applicant will be deemed to be the administrator. The administrator is the person who is responsible for calling in all assets, paying all liabilities and thereafter, distributing the net assets of the estate to the beneficiaries.
A grant of administration will only be made to someone who is entitled to the whole of the estate or to a share of the estate. It is usually granted to the deceased’s next of kin. If the deceased did not leave a next of kin, the court may grant an application to the NSW Trustee and Guardian or any other person the court deems fit.
To find out who is entitled to the deceased’s estate when the deceased dies without a will, please follow the following link to the LawAccess website.
Before an application for Letters of Administration can be made, the applicant must carry out a thorough search for the will of the deceased or any document written by the deceased that sets out their testamentary intentions. Details of this search must be included in the Affidavit of the applicant.
Further, before a Letters of Administration application can be made, a notice of intention to apply for Letters of Administration is required to be filed with the Supreme Court of New South Wales. This form gives the deceased’s creditors an opportunity to claim upon the estate. This notice must be filed at least 14 days before a Letters of Administration application can be made.
An application for Letters of Administration must include the following:
- Summons for Letters of Administration (or Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed).
- Grant for Letters of Administration (or Grant for Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed).
- Affidavit of the Applicant for Administration (or Affidavit of the Applicant for Administration with the Will Annexed).
- Inventory of Property.
- The original or a copy of the original will of the deceased person.
- Death Certificate of the deceased person.
A beneficiary under a will may apply for Letters of Administration with the will annexed if the deceased left a valid will but, there is no executor named in the will, the executor died before the deceased or before applying for probate, the executor has renounced probate, the executor is unable or unwilling to act, or the executor is outside Australia and has appointed their attorney to apply to administer the estate (while the executor is outside Australia).
If the court grants Letters of Administration with the will annexed, the administrator must distribute the estate according to the deceased’s wishes in their will and not in accordance with the rules of intestacy.
The Supreme Court of New South Wales currently grants noncomplex applications for Letters of Administration within 20 working days from the date the application is made. This time can differ in more complex matters or if the backlog of the Court becomes larger.
An application for Letters of Administration must be made within six months of the date of death of the deceased person. Once a grant of Letters of Administration is obtained, a notice of intention to distribute is required to be filed with the court. Distribution of the estate must not occur until one month after the notice is filed and at least six months from the date of death of the deceased person.
The legal costs for applying for a grant of Letters of Administration are charged in accordance with a regulated scale which covers the following work:
- Obtaining instructions from the executor to obtain the grant of Letters of Administration.
- Attending on the applicant to verify details of the estate and liabilities of the estate.
- Preparation of the required Court documents.
- Attendance upon the applicant to sign documents.
- Lodging documents with the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
- Answering requisitions raised by the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
- Perusing the grant of Letters of Administration and advising the administrator.
Any costs incurred for work done in addition to the above and in the administration of the estate are not regulated and will be set out in our cost’s disclosure agreement.
The disbursement costs associated with obtaining a grant of Letters of Administration and distribution of the estate include Court filing fees. The filing fee for the application of Letters of Administration is charged in accordance with the value of the estate. See below table outlining the filing fees.
|ESTATE VALUE||FILING FEE APPLICABLE|
|Less than $100,000.00||$0.00|
|$100,000.00 or more, but less than $250,000.00||$761.00|
|$250,000.00 or more, but less than $500,000.00||$1,033.00|
|$500,000.00 or more, but less than $1,000,000.00||$1,583.00|
|$1,000,000.00 or more, but less than $2,000,000.00||$2,109.00|
|$2,000,000.00 or more, but less than $5,000,000.00||$3,515.00|
|$5,000,000.00 or more||$5,860.00|
*These filing fees are current as of August 2019
Other disbursements include the following:
- Notice of Intention to Apply for Letters of Administration $47.00.
- Notice of Intention to Distribute $47.00.