Letters of Administration
If the deceased owned substantial assets in his or her own name but died without having ever made a Will, then you may need to obtain Letters of Administration to deal with the assets.
Depending on the nature and value of the assets, we can advise you whether this will be necessary in the first place. It may be that an application to the Court is not required at all, saving you considerable time and expense. For example, where bank balances are below say $25,000.00 (the exact amount varies between banks), the bank may be willing to rely on just a copy of the death certificate and an indemnity form rather than formal Administration. Or assets may be held jointly, in which case they pass automatically to the survivor and are not legally part of the estate.
Grant of Letters of Administration
However, in many cases, a grant of Letters of Administration is required from the Supreme Court before a person (usually the closes relative/s) can access the property, assets and bank accounts of the deceased person and deal with them in accordance with the law. Asset holders are naturally more reluctant to release funds where there is no Will. Because the Court must be satisfied that the deceased never made a Will, evidence must be produced showing that all necessary searches and inquiries have been made.
Letters of Administration Process
At Trouncer Legal, we can guide you through the process and help you to navigate the complexities of a the estate, as easily and painlessly as possible. These applications can be a legally technical area in which practical experience in finding solutions can be invaluable. Too many stories abound of estates getting bogged down for long months due to difficulties and inaction. With expertise and long experience in this area, we take pride in being able to complete the whole process as promptly and efficiently as possible, meaning that distribution of assets can be made in a timely manner.
We will arrange the publication of the required 14 days’ advertisement on the Supreme Court website, if necessary arrange publication of a Notice in the Law Society Journal, draft and prepare the Affidavits and other documents required for the application to the Court, contact the banks or other assets holders, and generally attend to the whole process on your behalf whilst keeping you fully informed at all times. You just need to furnish details of all assets, the original death certificate (which is usually sent to you by the funeral director about two weeks after the funeral), and all other information we see as relevant.
Letters of Administration Fees
Fees for obtaining a grant of Letters of Administration are governed by a scale determined by legal regulations, (in turn based upon the total value of assets of the estate), with lower additional fees on an hourly basis for finalising the collection and distribution of assets and so on. If you contact us, we would be happy to discuss the likely fees and expenses involved.
The main expense is the Supreme Court application fee, currently $685.00 for estates between $100K to $250K, $949.00 for estates up to $500K, $1,424.00 for estates between $500K and $1 million, and $1,899.00 over $1m. In our experience, total legal fees and expenses, inclusive of GST, usually amount to around 0.7 to 0.9% of the value of the estate, a stark contrast to the Public Trustee, which charges in the region of 4% or more.
Contact Trouncer Legal today for a free consultation and to discuss the process for Letters of Administration. By the end of the consultation you will have a clear grasp on what is required and how we are able to help.