1. Search for the will
The Supreme Court will need to be convinced that the deceased did not leave a will or another document that outlined the deceased’s intention to distribute the estate. A thorough search must be carried out to find the will. Places to search include the deceased’s home or last place of residence and amongst the deceased’s personal papers and belongings. If the will has not been found in the personal possessions of the deceased, then further inquiries must be undertaken, such as enquiring at:
- The NSW Trustee & Guardian;
- The Supreme Court of NSW;
Any banks that the deceased held account at;
- Any solicitors that the deceased may have engaged.
You will be required to create a list of where you have searched in the Affidavit of Applicant.
2. Obtain a death certificate
If the deceased died in NSW, you need to apply for a death certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
3. Determine who is entitled under intestacy and who should apply
An eligible relative can apply for Letters of Administration. The eligible relative is typically the spouse or child of the deceased. If more than one person is entitled to apply, those persons should agree to apply jointly, or one or some of them should apply with the consent of the other(s).
4. Advertise notice of intention to apply for a grant of Letters of Administration
Before applying for Letters of Administration, you must publish an online notice of your intention to apply on the NSW Online Registry. Once you have published your intention online, you must wait at least 14 days from the publication date before filing your summons for Letters of Administration.
5. Complete and file the forms
For Letters of Administration the following documents need to be filed at the Supreme Court (in addition to those required for Probate):
- an affidavit stating that the deceased was not living in a de facto relationship unless the de facto spouse is making the application (which can include a same-sex partner) in which case a detailed affidavit is required confirming the applicant is a de facto spouse;
- an affidavit of applicant for administration;
- an administration bond, if required.
A registrar will determine uncontested applications for Letters of Administration, and there will be no hearing in court.
Once the Supreme Court has granted the letters of administration, the administrator will be allowed to manage and distribute the deceased’s assets.
It is advisable to seek legal advice before commencing an application to apply for a grant of Letters of Administration. Segelov Taylor Lawyers are experienced lawyers in this area and can help you through the complex process.