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Letters of Administration In Melbourne

The Supreme Court of Victoria issues Letters of Administration to confirm the authority of an administrator to administrate a deceased estate. In Melbourne, an administrator assumes authority in the absence of an executor, either because the testator died intestate, failed to appoint an executor in their will, or the chosen executor is absent or unwilling to assume the duties of executorship. This article looks further into the purpose of applying to the Supreme Court of Victoria to obtain Letters of Administration in Melbourne.

When to apply for Letters Of Administration in Melbourne

All being well, when a person passes away in Melbourne they leave behind a valid and comprehensive will that appoints an executor to administrate the deceased estate. In that event, the executor can apply to the Supreme Court for a Grant of Probate. Otherwise, a suitable person can apply for either Letters of Administration No Will or Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed.

When a deceased dies intestate, someone must apply for Letters of Administration No Will to manage the estate according to the intestacy rules contained in the Administration and Probate Act 1958. When there is a valid will, but no executor available or willing to apply to the court for a Grant of Probate, then a prospective administrator needs to apply for Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed in order to administer the estate in accordance with the testator’s wishes.

Is it always necessary to obtain Letters Of Administration in Melbourne?

There are a few exceptions to the requirement for a probate grant. An administrator may decide that, given the small size of a particular deceased estate and minimal risk of legal contest, there is no risk in foregoing an application for probate. Sometimes a person passes away and their deceased estate is minimal. This can be because their major assets are held in joint tenancy with another person (with the result that the asset reverts to the sole ownership of the surviving party), or their major asset is superannuation or insurance (and someone will inherit according to a binding death benefit nomination).

Often, if there is only a small amount of money held in bank accounts, banks will release these funds as long as the administrator is willing to sign a liability waiver. It is best to contact the financial institution directly to find out their general policy on deceased estate assets.

Who can apply for Letters Of Administration in Melbourne?

Not everyone is an eligible applicant to apply for Letters of Administration in Melbourne. Only someone who is a beneficiary of the estate, or who would be a beneficiary under intestacy laws, is eligible to apply. If more than one eligible applicant applies, the court will choose the most suitable administrator from amongst the competing applications. Typically the main beneficiary of the estate is considered the most appropriate person to administrate the deceased estate. Other close relatives of the deceased would also be suitable if the main beneficiary is unable to accept the responsibility. The court will make a decision based on all the factors to select an administrator in the best interests of the estate, even if that means granting the Letters of Administration to a non-family member such as a creditor. In some circumstances, the court will require an administrator to purchase a surety guarantee to insure against any deficiency in the administration of the estate.

Applying for letters of administration in Melbourne

The Supreme Court typically grant Letters of Administration in Melbourne in around 4-6 weeks. However, there may be a delay in the process if there are objections to the application or the court has additional questions for the applicant. These questions are submitted in the form of requisitions, which can be hard to decipher and complete. The team at Go To Court Lawyers can assist you with the original application to ensure that all the issues are covered, and help you answer probate requisitions to expedite the process.

Reseal of Letters Of Administration in Melbourne

The Supreme Court will grant a reseal of Letters of Administration to restamp a grant issued in another jurisdiction in Australia. This is necessary when the deceased is a resident of another state or territory, but owns real property in Melbourne. The Land Titles Office does not recognise foreign grants so it is necessary to apply for a reseal in the local jurisdiction. The reseal ensures that the administrator’s authority is recognised in Melbourne.

Hardcopy or online Letters Of Administration in Melbourne

Traditionally, the Supreme Court issues probate grants in hard copy as a parchment, so called because the document was stapled to thick parchment cardboard. Recently, the court transitioned to online grants through RedCrest. Go To Court Lawyers can provide a certified copy of the grant once the team has inspected the original lodged in RedCrest. The copy of the digital grant differs from traditional hardcopy grants as it has a unique identifier on the document.

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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