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Letters of Administration In Brisbane

In Brisbane, the Supreme Court issues Letters of Administration when someone passes away intestate (without a will), partially intestate, or when there is no executor willing or able to apply for a Grant of Probate. This article outlines the circumstances when it is necessary to apply for a Letters of Administration in Brisbane.

Types of probate grant in Brisbane

When a resident of Brisbane dies, or someone passes away owning real property in the state of Queensland, someone must assume responsibility for the administration of the deceased estate. If the deceased made a valid, formal will that nominated an executor, that executor can apply for a Grant of Probate. In all other cases, someone has to apply to the Probate Court for permission to oversee the management of the estate.

Letters of administration in Brisbane

The Probate Court will grant Letters of Administration to an applicant who is willing, able and authorised to administrate a deceased estate. Typically, an administrator will be unable to manage the affairs of the deceased without a probate grant. Having this documentation authorises the executor to act on behalf of the deceased estate and is often required by government departments and financial institutions that hold assets of the deceased estate.

In Brisbane, the court grants two types of Letters of Administration. The first type of grant is the Letters of Administration (With A Will), which is used when there is a valid will but either the testator failed to name an executor, or the named executors are unavailable to assume responsibility. The second type of grant is the Letters of Administration (Without A Will), which the court uses in the event that the estate is intestate. 

It may not be necessary to obtain Letters of Administration, depending on the testamentary circumstances of the deceased. In Brisbane, banks and financial institutions will typically release smaller assets and funds without a probate grant, as long as the estate administrator agrees to indemnify them against financial liability. If an administrator is unsure, he or she should contact the financial institution directly for pertinent information.

It is also not necessary to have Letters of Administration to deal with assets that are jointly held between the deceased and another person, as sole ownership will devolve on the survivor upon the death of the other co-owner. The same type of exemption applies to superannuation and insurance pay outs that have a binding death benefit nomination, as the funds will automatically be handed over to the nominated beneficiary.

Who can apply for letters of administration in Brisbane?

In Brisbane, the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 limits the list of people who can apply for Letters of Administration to potential beneficiaries of the estate. The court is more likely to grant Letters of Administration to an applicant who has the written consent of other beneficiaries. If the beneficiaries cannot agree on the choice of administrator, they can file competing applications and leave the decision to the court. Alternatively, several applicants can make a joint application for Letters of Administration to act as co-administrators. There is an order of applicant preference that mirrors the line of intestate succession, starting with the deceased’s de facto partner or spouse, then child, grandchild, parent, sibling, nephew or niece, grandparent, uncle or aunt, and cousin. Ultimately the court may grant Letters of Administration to any suitable applicant in the best interest of the deceased estate.

Once an administrator receives Letters of Administration, they have the same power as an executor to wrap up the deceased estate, either according to the testator’s wishes, or in accordance with the rules of intestacy. The administrator will collect together the deceased’s assets for safekeeping, compile a list of liabilities, file a final tax return on behalf of the deceased, and defend the estate from legal action until such time as it is appropriate to transfer the assets of the estate to the rightful beneficiaries.

Applying for letters of administration in Brisbane

The first step for any applicant is to advertise their intention to apply for Letters of Administration in the Queensland Law Reporter (QLR). The applicant also needs to deliver a copy of the Notice of Intention to Apply to the Public Trustee of Queensland. The applicant must wait for a certain period of time for objections before filing the application with the Court. In Brisbane, the waiting period is 14 days after the notice appears in the QLR and 7 days after the Public Trustee receives the notice.

The applicant for Letters of Administration must submit certain documents in addition to the application form, including the original death certificate, the deceased’s will (if available) with copies, an affidavit of support, and an affidavit of publication and service. The Probate Registry will typically evaluate an application for Letters of Administration within a month unless there are objections to the application.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

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Nicola Bowes

Dr Nicola Bowes holds a Bachelor of Arts with first-class honours from the University of Tasmania, a Bachelor of Laws with first-class honours from the Queensland University of Technology, and a PhD from The University of Queensland. After a decade of working in higher education, Nicola joined Go To Court Lawyers in 2020.
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