Probate vs Letters of Administration

How to Apply for Probate vs How to Apply for Letters of Administration in NSW

There is often confusion around the terms ‘Probate’ and ‘Letters of Administration’ in the context of deceased estates. Simply put, Probate is granted when a deceased person dies with a will and a living named executor. Letters of Administration is when a deceased person dies without a will or a living executor.

Further, there are two types of Letters of Administration:

1. Letters of Administration, where there is no will; and

2. Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed, where there is a will but the executors are deceased or cannot act.

If you are granted Probate, you are the ‘Executor’ of the estate.

If you are granted Letters of Administration, you are the ‘Administrator’ of the estate.

Why do I need the grant in the first place?

A grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is needed so that an Executor or Administrator can take control of your assets and liabilities to be dealt with in accordance with either your will or if there is no will, the rules of intestacy.

The grant is needed to deal with certain types of assets contained within a deceased estate, including (but not limited to):

• Real property;

• Bank accounts with more than $50,000.00 cash (varies from bank to bank);

• Refundable Accommodation Deposits (RADs) or nursing home bonds;

• Investments;

• Shares; and

• Superannuation in some cases.

If all of a deceased’s assets are jointly held with another person, such as a spouse or de facto partner, a grant is not required.

Which is better?

Applying for a grant of Probate is a much simpler process than applying for a grant of Letters of Administration, as both the Executor and beneficiaries are easier to identify. The application also requires less work to be undertaken on applying for the grant and administering the estate.

To make the process of administering your estate easier on your loved ones, it is strongly recommended that you execute a well drafted will. 

If you need help with your estate planning or administering a loved one’s estate, contact the team at Kennedy & Cooke to get legal advice as soon as possible.

Please be advised that this article is for informational purposes only. It is not to be used in place of legal advice. Please contact one of our solicitors if you require legal advice.

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