GRANT OF LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION & PROBATE
Ideally, the deceased will have named someone in their will to serve as executor. Just because someone is named as executor, however, does not mean that they are automatically entitled to start managing the deceased's estate. In order to officially serve in that capacity, the proposed executor applies to the court for a Grant of Probate. If there is no will or no executor is appointed in the will then it will be necessary for an interested party to apply for a Grant Of Letters Of Administration to manage the estate. It is only these documents that vest legal authority to distribute the deceased's assets.
An estate will only have an executor if the deceased specifically appointed one in their will. Also without a will there can be no executor. If the deceased died intestate, meaning without a will, then the estate will be managed by an administrator, usually an interested party, typically a relative of the deceased, who will step forward and apply to the court for a Grant of Letters of Administration. Like the executor's Grant of Probate, this document is the basis for the administrator's authority to distribute the deceased's assets.
Because there is no will to direct the distribution of the estate, once the Grant of Letters of Administration has been issued by the court, the administrator will distribute the deceased's assets according to the laws of intestacy. Intestacy laws come into effect when a person dies intestate, that is without a will. They are used to determine who will inherit from the estate and how much of the estate they will inherit. If there are no relatives qualifying as beneficiaries under the intestacy laws, the deceased's assets will be claimed by the Crown. The outcome when intestacy laws are applied can be completely contrary to what the deceased would have wanted, particularly if the Crown claims the estate. This scenario further highlights the importance of leaving behind a valid will.
Typically it is very difficult to have an executor or administrator stripped of their authority. However, if the appointed person is not properly fulfilling their duties, a concerned individual should apply to the court to request that they be dismissed and replaced. If the dismissal is granted, the court will then appoint someone new to carry out the requisite duties.
Our solicitors specialise in wills and probate law. They have the court room experience that's necessary to take on cases of contentious probate or litigation over the validity of a will. For free legal advice about your case, contact us today. Simply phone us on our helpline or complete the contact form. The consultation is completely free and you are under no further obligations to use our services.