What Happens When a Person Dies Without a Will?
If a person dies without leaving a will, the spouse or family member of the deceased will need to apply to the Supreme Court to be granted the power to administer the estate of the deceased. Once an application is made, The Supreme Court will then issue a Grant of Letters of Administration empowering the applicant with the authority to distribute the assets of the deceased in accordance with the law.
The spouse (including de facto), or one or more of the next of kin of the deceased can be appointed by the Supreme Court as the administrator of the estate of the deceased. If there is no one fit or trusted with the responsibility, then the Court can grant administration to any individual it deems fit.
After the granting of the Letter of Administration, all of the deceased’s assets become the property of the administrator to deal with and distribute accordingly to the law for intestate estates.
A Letter of Administration is not required in every case. One case where it is needed is where organisations, which hold assets of the deceased, need a legal document from the Court to release such assets to the administrator for distribution. Another case where letters of administration may be needed is if there was a will but the Executors are not able or willing to act on it.
Letters of Administration can be a complicated process and we advise that you reach out to a lawyer to help you in this matter. To learn more, talk to one of our lawyers today.
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