Applying for formal administration

Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration

Generally, if the value of any of the assets in a deceased estate exceeds $15,000, the executor will need to apply to the High Court for ‘formal administration’. This is called a ‘Grant of Probate’, and it gives the executor the legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased estate. Similarly, if there is no will, someone, usually a family member, will need to apply to the High Court for ‘Letters of Administration’ for the same purpose.

Applying to the High Court for a grant of probate, or letters of administration, is specialised work and is usually performed by an estates lawyer. This is because applications have to be in the format required by the High Court; and contain all the necessary supporting documentation and information, including signed affidavits from executors or those seeking to be the administrator.

We recommend you seek expert assistance. This will ensure the application process runs smoothly, so that the High Court can grant the formal administration as early as possible.  This is important, as the process will take between four to six weeks assuming the application has been filed correctly, but even longer if the Court has not received all the correct documentation or the application did not comply, in any other way, with the relevant High Court Rules. During this period, the necessary estate administration activities can not commence.

Our experienced Estate Administration team can apply, on your behalf, to the High Court for grants of probate or letters of administration.

Generally, if no asset of the estate has a value of more than $15,000 and the estate does not have any interest in land, no grant of formal administration is required. In which case, the executor (or, if there is no will, the deceased’s family) can immediately commence administering the estate and distribute the assets. As with formal administration, the terms of the will, or (if there is no will) the requirements of the Administration Act 1969, still need to be followed. We can assist with the valuation and advise on whether formal administration is required.

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