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What is the difference between Probate and Letters of Administration?

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At its most basic level, a Probate grant is a Supreme Court order, given to an executor, that identifies the executor as the person to deal with the deceased person’s estate. Whereas, a Letter of Administration is given to someone who isn’t named as executor in the will.


Probate grant

Attached to the grant is a copy of the will, and the Grant of Probate serves as proof that:

1. The deceased person has died;
2. The deceased left a valid will, naming an executor; and
3. The executor is the appointed person to deal with the deceased’s estate.


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Letters of Administration

Similarly, a Grant of Letters of Administration is a comparable Supreme Court order, except it is given to someone who isn’t named as executor in the will. This is either because there is no will or the executor/s named in the will cannot act for some reason. If there is a will, then a copy needs to be attached to the grant.

However, where there is no will, the grant is issued and is known as letters of administration on intestacy (intestacy is simply the name for a situation where a person dies without a valid will). Matters concerning the estate will still need to be resolved.

For this to occur, the court needs to approve an administrator and this is referred to as a Grant of Letters Administration.


Who can apply for Letters of Administration on intestacy?

Typically, the person who is likely to inherit the largest portion of the estate will apply to be the administrator. This person is also likely to be the closest living relative to the deceased.

Courts will usually Grant a Letter of Administration to:

  • the spouse
  • the children (one or more children)
  • the next of kin (if there are no children)
  • a Trustee & Guardian (if there is no appropriate next of kin or they are unwilling to apply for the grant)
  • another person the court deems fit


Probate QLD

Probate QLD


How long do Letters of Administration (QLD) take?

It usually takes around 4-6 weeks from your initial application to receive the documents. However, this is usually just the beginning.

There’s a procedure involved with applying for Probate or Letters of Administration. This procedure involves the proper notification of the matter to the world at large and verifies that the appropriate person/s are being appointed (and if not, providing evidence and demonstrating why a person should not be appointed).


Grants of Representation

Collectively, Probate and Letters of Administration are sometimes called “Grants of Representation”. This is because they identify the legal personal representative of the estate – that is, the person who is vested with authority, as approved by the Supreme Court, to deal with the estate.


Professional assistance with all aspects of Estate Administration

Our probate lawyers can assist you in all matters concerning Estate Administration. This includes applying for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration (depending on the relevant circumstances).

Please contact us to find out how we can assist you.

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Depending on the circumstances, we may even be able to assist you on a delayed payment basis. This is where we cover the costs of applying for a grant in the first instance and only request payment once the grant has been issued – and so that invoice can be paid by the estate, and you are not out of pocket for any legal costs.


A Complete Guide To Contesting or Challenging a Will in QueenslandA Complete Guide To Contesting or Challenging a Will in Queensland


Need a Copy of a Will?

If you need a copy of a Will and/or are seeking legal advice, the team at O'Connor Rudy and Garrett can assist you. We will contact you to confirm additional details and then organise contacting the required parties to secure a copy of the Will for you.