Letters of Administration Lawyers in Melbourne & across regional Victoria
Stratus Legal Group’s fixed price services are tailored for the deceased estate you are responsible for, no matter the size or complexity.
Letters of Administration
When a person dies without leaving a Will, he or she is said to have died intestate. In the absence of a Will, the closest next of kin usually applies to the Supreme Court of Victoria for Letters of Administration to become the executor of the estate. Many people mix up this procedure with the application for a Grant of Probate.
Probate is the term used to prove a Will, but when someone dies without a Will, or when the Will is defective, the process is known as applying for Letters of Administration.
Making an application for a Letter of Administration is a complicated, time-consuming, and at times overwhelming process. As estate lawyers, we help many people apply for Letters of Administration, which can be a difficult process.
Once the application for Letters of Administration has been made, the administrator appointed will be able to deal with the deceased’s assets. The appointed administrator is responsible for administering and distributing the estate in accordance with the Administration and Probate Act of 1958.
A little more about Letters of Administration Services
In most cases, the deceased’s closest next of kin will file an application with the Supreme Court for Letters of Administration. However, due to age, location, or other factors, this is not always possible. In this case, the application will be made by the next in line of the next of kin.
Depending on the circumstances, if you are the deceased’s next of kin, you may or may not know if they had a Will. If you are certain they died without a Will, you can begin the Letters of Administration process. If you are unsure whether the deceased made a Will, you will need to go through the deceased’s personal files, contact their lawyer(s), or contact their local bank to see if a Will was stored away from their home. As estate lawyers, we can handle this for you, saving you time and headaches.
Once it is determined that there is no Will, a copy of the death certificate is required. In addition, you will need to begin the laborious task of compiling a list of their assets and liabilities. This means you’ll need to contact all banks and stock exchange clearing houses, as well as conduct real estate title searches and lost money searches, among other things. You will also need to determine the deceased’s liabilities as of the date of death.
When you’ve catalogued all of the assets you’ll need, double-check that the values are correct. This may necessitate the hiring of a valuer so that you can confidently detail all assets and liabilities in a Supreme Court affidavit. The next step in applying for Letters of Administration is to publicise your intention to make the application. Once the advertisement has been made, you have a certain amount of time before you can file an application with the Supreme Court for Letters of Administration. The purpose of the advertisement is to effectively inform the world that an application is about to be made and that anyone who is owed money by the deceased can contact you before you make the application.
When the court issues an order for Letters of Administration, the administrator’s job is far from over. The administrator must then ensure that all assets are called in, that assets are sold to convert them to cash, that debts are paid, and that final tax returns are completed. Distribution can begin once the estate’s final nett position has been determined. However, the administrator must strictly adhere to the provisions of the Administration and Probate Act of 1958. An estate in which no will was left is not immune from probate. Prior to distributing an estate, an administrator must obtain comprehensive legal advice about the potential risks of a contested estate.
Our estate lawyers can relieve you of the stress, worry, and time-consuming paperwork. Because the legal fees are paid from the estate, the administrator incurs no out-of-pocket expenses. Our estate attorneys can:
- Assist you in conducting all necessary searches for any potential Wills,
- Make a detailed inventory of the estate’s assets and liabilities,
- Obtain any insurance policies required for valuable assets,
- Collaborate with stock exchange clearing houses to locate misplaced shares,
- Conduct real estate searches and locate lost property titles,
- Recover bonds for retirement or nursing homes; and
- Look for foreign and interstate assets.
Our estate lawyers can also help you with administration. This relieves you of the burden of having to do all of the hard work. Our estate lawyers collect assets, file an application with the Supreme Court, sell assets, pay debts, file tax returns, and prepare final distributions. You will be consulted throughout the process and given the best advice possible, allowing you to settle the estate as soon as possible. Call or send us a message right now to set up your free consultation.
Things to Consider
Here at Stratus Legal Group we understand that dealing with a deceased estate can be daunting and stressful, all the while you are still dealing with your grief. We aim to ensure you understand the next steps throughout the process and are always on hand to answer any question you may have.
Providing everything that comes to mind is really important from the very start. Learning extra details from clients down the track can have a vast impact on the outcome of your matter which it is important to be open and honest with us.
For Contesting Estates we offer ‘No Win, No Fee’ where you only pay our legal fees if your matter is successful. For Probate it is common that we offer payment at ‘End of Matter’ where payment is not due until the completion day.
Our team are available through a variety of alternative methods including video calls (such as via Zoom and Microsoft Teams), face-to-face throughout Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria, telephone and email. If you prefer sending letters through Australia Post, don’t worry we can do that too. Whatever your choice of communication, our team will always do their best to keep in touch as regularly as possible, including returning calls, emails and letters.
What Our Clients Say
Read what some of our past clients have to say. The ethics and reputation of each one of our lawyers, precedes them individually and us as a firm.
Alex is an extremely professional, efficient, and friendly lawyer. He was fast with all correspondence, contacting me on the day of any inquiries. He took the time to happily explain any questions I had. I highly recommend Alex O’Donohue.