A Letter of Administration occurs when a person dies without a will this is also known as ‘intestate.’ The family of the deceased must apply for a grant of letters of administration from the NSW Supreme Court in order to administer the estate. These estates are divided according to the Succession Act 2006 (NSW)

If there is a valid will in existence then the process is probate.

If there is not a valid will or no will an administrator must apply to the Supreme Court to distribute the estate in the manner prescribed by the Succession Act 2006.

Who can apply for the letter of administration?

The grant for administration is typically completed by the ‘next of kin’:-

  • spouse of the deceased
  • one or more of the next of kin (the application can be joint with a number of administrators)
  • the spouse jointly with other relatives.

If there is no ‘next of kin’ or none that are appropriate or willing to apply for the grant the court may grant administration to:-

  • NSW Trustee and Guardian
  • Any other person the court sees fit.


Do I need a letter of Administration?

A letter of Administration is similar to probate in that it will need the formal authority from the NSW Supreme Court where there are assets if significant value. It is also common that some organisations insist upon a formal court order before releasing assets.

Having an estate dealt with formally also has an added advantage for the administrator with some important protections from being found personal liable for their dealings with the estate.


Order of Succession where estate in intestate

Order of Succession in letters of administration


You should always seek legal advice in relation to obtaining a grant of letters of administration and/or probate. At Catron Simmons Lawyers we understand how difficult this time is. We give you the benefit of years of experience to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible.

Letters of Administration

Need legal advice? Catron Simmons can help.