Probate and Letters of Administration in NSW – What is The Difference?
Probate and Letters of Administration are terminologies used in Wills and Estate Law.
There are lots of different legal terms used in Wills and Estates, which can make it confusing. Two of these legal terms are Probate and Letters of Administration and they describe two different situations that can occur with a deceased Estate.
Probate refers to the application made to the Supreme Court of NSW by the Executor (or Executors) named in the Will of the deceased.
Once the Court makes a Grant of Probate, the Executor named in the Will of the deceased is able to administer the Estate. The administration of the Estate includes gathering in the assets of the deceased Estate, paying the funeral costs and other debts of the Estate and then, distributing the assets left in the Estate to the beneficiaries named in the Will. The Executors are also in charge of handling any challenges to the Will of the deceased, such as family provision claims or claims that the deceased’s Will is not valid.
Letters of Administration
Letters of Administration also refers to an application made to the Supreme Court of NSW, where the Will of the deceased cannot be located or where there is a Will, but no Executor named in the Will or the Executor named has died or is unable to act as Executor.
A Grant of Letters of Administration means that the Administrator appointed by the Court can deal with the Estate in the same way an Executor would deal with the Estate, such as paying debts of the Estate and administering the Estate in accordance with the Will, or in accordance with the Laws of Intestacy if there is no Will.
So, the difference between Probate and Letters of Administration rests on the fact of whether the deceased left a valid Will with an Executor, who is able to act, or whether the deceased left a valid Will with no Executor, able to act or left no Will at all.
Applying for Letters of Administration can be more time consuming and costly than applying for a Grant of Probate, as it involves more information being provided to the Court. This is why, it is so important to seek expert legal advice on your Will which can include ensuring that you name more than one Executor, so that your Estate will not be subject to a Grant of Letters of Administration.
If you are in the process of organising your Estate, make sure you receive expert legal advice from a lawyer who deals exclusively with Wills and Estates Law.
Before selecting your Probate Lawyer, you need to research and ensure that you engage a Lawyer who only deals with Wills and Estates Law. This will ensure that your Probate Lawyer is an expert in this field and up to date on current court decisions in this area. The Sydney Probate Lawyer practices exclusively in Wills and Estates Law and will provide you with the professional and expert advice you need for your Estate Planning.
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