Someone has died without a Will – What next?

To finalise the estate of someone who has died without a Will, Letters of Administration must first be granted. A grant of Letters of Administration is a legal document issued by the Court which allows the administrator(s) to manage and distribute the deceased’s assets. For the Supreme Court of NSW to make a grant of Letters of Administration, the deceased must have left assets in NSW.

Letters of Administration may only be applied for by the deceased’s next-of-kin. The order of eligible relatives is:

1. Spouse or de facto spouse
2. Children
3. Parents
4. Siblings
5. Grandparents
6. Aunts and uncles
7. Cousins

This is also the order in which the deceased’s estate will be inherited.

Each category of eligible relatives must be exhausted before moving onto the next. If there is more than one person in a category, they can apply for Letters of Administration jointly, otherwise consent must be obtained from the other eligible people. You may also be required to provide an administration bond.

The Letters must be applied for within 6 months from the deceased’s date of death. The Application for Letters of Administration can be filed in the Supreme Court 14 days after the Notice of Intended Application is published. Once filed, the Court will take some time to process the application. After the Letters have been granted, the administrator(s) may use it to collect the deceased’s assets, pay any outstanding debts, and distribute assets to beneficiaries.

How we can help

We understand that the death of a loved one is an extremely difficult time. Unfortunately, applying for Letters of Administration may not always be an easy and straight-forward process. Our team of estate lawyers can help ease the burden by guiding you throughout the entire process and preparing all necessary paperwork.

Please contact us on (02) 9687 8885 or make an enquiry on our website to set up a consultation with one of our lawyers.