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When a person dies without leaving a valid Will, also known as dying intestate, the process of distributing their assets and property can become complicated. In Victoria, the process is known as applying for Letters of Administration.
In this guide, we will explain the steps and requirements for applying for Letters of Administration in Victoria.
What are Letters of Administration?
Letters of Administration are legal documents issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria that give a person, known as the administrator, the authority to manage and distribute the assets and property of a person who has died without leaving a valid Will.
If the deceased left a Will, however the executor named in the Will has passed away or cannot act as executor, this is known as Letters of Administration with the Will Annexed.
The administrator is responsible for paying any debts and distributing the remaining assets and property to the deceased person's next of kin, as determined by the court.
The difference between Probate and Letters of Administration.
Probate and Letters of Administration are both legal documents that grant a person the authority to manage the assets and property of a deceased person. Collectively, they are known as a Grant of Representation. However, there are some key differences between the two in Victoria.
Probate is the process of proving the validity of a Will and appointing an executor to manage the deceased person's assets and property. In order to obtain probate, an individual must present the original Will to the court and prove that it was validly executed.
The executor named in the Will is responsible for managing the deceased person's estate and distributing assets according to the instructions outlined in the Will.
Letters of Administration, on the other hand, are necessary when the deceased person did not leave behind a valid Will or if the executor named in the Will is unable or unwilling to fulfil their duties.
In this case, a person known as an administrator is appointed by the court to manage the deceased person's estate. The administrator is responsible for collecting and distributing the assets of the deceased person in accordance with the laws of intestacy.
Who can apply for Letters of Administration?
Any person who has an interest in the deceased person's assets and property can apply for Letters of Administration.
This includes next of kin, such as spouses, children, and parents, as well as any other person who may have a financial interest in the deceased person's estate.
What are the requirements for applying for Letters of Administration in Victoria?
To apply for Letters of Administration in Victoria, you will generally need to provide the following documentation:
- A copy of the deceased person's death certificate
- A copy of any existing Will or testamentary documents
- A list of the deceased person's assets and liabilities
- An estimate of the value of the deceased person's estate
What is the process for applying for Letters of Administration?
The process for applying for Letters of Administration in Victoria involves the following steps:
- Obtain the required documentation, including the death certificate and any existing Will or testamentary documents.
- Advertise your intention to apply. A notice of an intended application (advertisement) for a grant must be published on the probate online advertising system at least 15 days before filing an application with the Probate Office.
- Make an account and log-in to RedCrest-Probate to complete an application for a grant of representation. You will be guided through questions to enable an affidavit and an inventory of assets and liabilities to be prepared.
- File the application and supporting documentation with the Supreme Court of Victoria.
- If the Letters of Administration are granted, the administrator must take an oath and post a bond before they can take control of the deceased person's assets and property.
- The administrator must then pay any debts and distribute the remaining assets and property to the deceased person's next of kin, as determined by the court.
How long does it take to get Letters of Administration?
The length of time it takes to get Letters of Administration can vary depending on the complexity of the estate and the number of other applications being considered by the court. On average, the process can take several months from the time the application is filed.
How much does it cost to get Letters of Administration in Victoria?
The cost of getting Letters of Administration in Victoria can vary depending on the value of the estate and the number of assets and liabilities involved. You will need to pay court filing fees and other costs, such as the cost of advertising. The Court fee for Application for a Grant of Representation, which is calculated based on the gross value of Victorian assets, ranges from $64.20 to $2171.20. Meanwhile, an Online Advertisement costs $24.50, as of July 1, 2022.
You may also need to pay for legal representation and other professional services, such as a real estate agent to value the property.
Our team of estate lawyers can walk you through the process of Letters of Administration. Give them a call for a free, no obligation consultation on 1800 959 371 or head here to check your eligibility for our services.
Final thoughts on Probate and Letters of Administration in Victoria.
Applying for Letters of Administration in Victoria can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it is necessary for distributing the assets and property of a person who has died without leaving a valid Will.
By understanding the requirements, process, and costs involved, you can be better prepared to navigate this process and ensure that the assets and property of the deceased person are distributed in a fair and efficient manner.
It is recommended that you seek the advice of a legal professional to guide you through the process and ensure that all requirements are met. Bare Law are here to help. Click the link below to learn more.