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What is Probate? What are Letters of Administration?

At its most basic level, a grant of probate is simply a Supreme Court order, given to an executor, that identifies the executor as the person to deal with the deceased person’s estate.

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.

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 – 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, but 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).

There’s a procedure involved with applying for probate or letters of administration, to ensure the proper notification of the matter to the world at large, and to verify that the appropriate person/s are being appointed (and if not, providing evidence and demonstrating why a person should not be appointed).

Collectively, grants of probate or letters of administration are sometimes called “grants of representation” 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.

Our lawyers can assist you in all matters concerning estate administration, including 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.

Depending on the circumstances, we may even be able to assist you on a delayed payment basis, 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.

Written by Thomas Ashton – Senior Associate

This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising from this publication, please let us know.

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