Obtaining a grant of letters of administration

A grant of letters of administration is a document issued by the Supreme Court in situations where there is no will (intestacy) or there is no valid appointment of an executor in a will. Below are some commonly asked questions about letters of administration.

  1. What is a grant of letters of administration?

A grant of letters of administration is a document issued by the Supreme Court of Queensland which officially recognises the right of the person/s named in the grant to administer the estate. A person who obtains letters of administration is referred to as an administrator, rather than an executor.

Such grants are usually either letters of administration on intestacy (where there is no will) or letters of administration with the will (where there is a will, but the appointment of an executor is ineffective).

  1. Why and when do you need a grant of letters of administration?

Most administrators seek the assistance of lawyers to obtain a grant of letters of administration because an institution (such as a bank or share registry) requires a grant of letters of administration before they will release the assets they hold. For example, many banks will require a grant of letters of administration for balances over $50,000 and many share registries require a grant of letters of administration for share parcels valued at $15,000 (for one share registry) and $50,000 (for the other share registry).

These limits are for convenience only, however, and an institution has the right to insist upon the production of a grant letters of administration for an asset of any value.

  1. Who can apply for a grant of letters of administration?

Because there is no document giving authority for the appointment, priority to apply for a grant of letters of administration is set out in the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules.

A grant of letters of administration cannot be taken out by minors, persons suffering from any physical or mental incapacity preventing them from performing the functions of an administrator and persons currently imprisoned. However, in some circumstances, others may apply for a grant of letters of administration on their behalf.

  1. How do I apply for a grant of letters of administration?

There are a number of steps to be taken in applying for a grant of letters of administration.[1] As an administrator applying for a grant of letters of administration you must advertise your intention to apply for a grant of probate, provide a copy of the advertisement to the Public Trustee; allow 14 days for objections; prepare the documents for your application which will include the original will and original death certificate; and file the application and supporting documents at the Supreme Court. You will also need to separately advertise for creditors.

  1. How long does it take to obtain a grant of letters of administration?

The advertising, preparation and execution of the necessary documents usually takes between 2 – 4 weeks.

Following the lodgement, your application is examined by court staff and provided that the documents are in order, the grant of letters of administration will issue. This part of the process usually takes 4 – 6 weeks.

Further reading

Grants of representation

Obtaining a grant of probate

 

[1] http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/courts/supreme-court/wills-and-estates-probate/steps-to-follow