If a person dies without a Will, or without naming an executor in a valid Will, or where an executor is unwilling or unable to act – this person is known as dying ‘intestate’.
In such a case, the law provides a formula to determine which family members receive what share of the estate. The legal process can be initiated through an application for a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’ to the Supreme Court within 6 months from the date of death. This ‘Grant of Letters’ then allows the Administrator to administer the deceased’s estate in accordance with the laws of Intestacy.
Applying to the Court for Letters of Administration can be a complex process. The Letters are issued so the administrator can collect the deceased’s assets by taking the grant to persons that may currently have assets of the estate, or that are debtors of the estate (including banks and retirement villages that are holding bonds) requiring them to transfer the assets or monies to the administrator.
Once the assets are ‘gathered in’ the administrator must pay any debts of the estate, before distributing the assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the statutory rules of Intestacy.
Generally only persons with legal ‘standing’ can apply for administration of a deceased’s estate.
The order of administrators in an Intestacy are regulated by Schedule 3 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Regulations 2015. (‘The Regulations’).
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