Letter of Administration

Probate in Australia for ex-pats

Probate in Australia for ex-pats

Ex-pats who have emigrated to Australia should make themselves aware of what needs to be done when applying for probate in Australia – and pass that information on to their loved ones whilst they are still alive.

The process can become complicated whereby the individual has assets remaining in the UK as well as Australia and so the advice of a probate practitioner should be sought.  However, if no assets remain in the UK, then the process is often much simpler and can be brought to a conclusion within a few weeks.

Most often, probate will include the need to reseal an English Grant of Probate in Australia.  For this to take place, the value of the deceased's assets within Australia will need to be valued and submitted along with an original copy of the English Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration, a copy of the original death certificate and ID for the executors of the estate.

When it comes to applying for probate in a different country, it is always advisable to seek the help of an experienced international probate specialist, who can instruct you each step of the way and make the whole process a little easier and less stressful for you during what is undeniably an upsetting and emotional time.

IWC Ltd has a number of international probate experts who can advise you on each aspect of the probate process in any individual country.  Call us today on 0800 612 6105 or 020 8150 2010.

Powers Granted in Letters of Administration

Powers Granted in Letters of Administration

There are a number of reasons in cases of probate for individuals to seek Letters of Administration.  A Grant of Letters of Administration may be requested by the next-of-kin in a case where the deceased has died intestate (without a will). This Grant can also be applied for if the executor named in the will has passed away, or is unwilling or unable to act as executor.
Whatever the circumstances, by the Grant of Letters of Administration the court officially appoints an administrator to handle the deceased estate. It gives the person who receives this appointment exactly the same powers as an executor that has been named in a will.
Through the Grant of Letters of Administration an individual can sell, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of the assets of the deceased.  An administrator cannot make any profit out of the estate for himself, other than what he might obtain as a beneficiary.
Up to 4 administrators may be appointed to execute an estate and in addition to the powers they are given there are certain duties that they have to perform. These include securing all assets and taking possession of these where ever possible. An administrator should also take out insurance to protect the value of any assets.
If there are any estate liabilities and taxes, such as inheritance tax, the administrator needs to arrange for these to be paid. When all of the debts on an estate have been settled, the administrator must distribute the estate in accordance with the laws of intestacy.
If you have any questions with regards to Letters of Administration call our free probate advice line on 0800 612 6105, open until 10pm, 7 days a week.

Letters of administration in brief

When a person dies without a Will, or if the will that they have left has been deemed invalid, they are described as being 'Intestate.' In this situation a relative, or other person, must apply for Letters of Administration to deal with the deceased's affairs.
Dealing with the estate of someone who has died intestate can be a complicated process. The level of difficulty depends greatly on the amount of money, assets, and property that the estate contains. Further complications are caused by the number of beneficiaries that may have a claim to the estate. Generally speaking the more people that are involved, the more complicated it is to sort out, particularly if it is difficult to find some of the beneficiaries.
The first step in the process is obtaining the right to administer the estate. In normal circumstances, when the deceased has left a will, there is a named executor who can obtain a Grant of Probate enabling them to administer the estate. In cases of intestacy there is no executor. The task of administering the estate will then fall to a relative of the deceased, who must apply for Letters of Administration. This person is usually a spouse, or child. An adopted child may make the application, but not a step child. The applicant must be over 18 years of age.
If the deceased is survived by a parent they are the next in line for the responsibility. After this the application can be made by siblings, then grandparents, then uncles or aunts. Other relatives that may apply for Letters of Administration are nieces, nephews and cousins. In cases where there are no surviving relatives the state will then make the application.
Once the applicant has established the right to apply for the grant of Letters of Administration the next step is to complete the application form. If the value of the estate is above £325,000 then the applicant will also need to complete the Inheritance Tax forms at the same time. Following this the applicant will be required to attend an interview at the Probate Registry to confirm the details in the application. The Letters of Administration will then be delivered by post shortly afterwards.
If you would like to find out more information you can call our confidential free phone 7 days a week until 10pm on 0800 612 6105

Is it Wise to Apply for Letters of Administration Independently?

If you are faced with the burden of dealing with a loved ones finances when they have died intestate, you may be wondering if you should apply for letters of administration yourself.
While the initial application may seem straightforward, there are several factors to consider. For a start, if you will have to do a lot of legwork before you are able to apply for letters of administration. This will involve tracking down all your loved ones assets, finding out whether they are owed money and if they owe money to anyone else.
If the deceased’s financial affairs are not straightforward, this can create a lot of work for you. So it may be worth appointing a specialist probate service to apply for letters of administration for you and deal with the estate on your behalf.
Another concern is tax matters. If inheritance tax is due on your loved ones estate, some of it is payable immediately. This can be a huge worry but a specialist probate service will be able to handle this efficiently and accurately.
Even if the deceased’s financial affairs are straightforward, it can still take time from the initial application for letters of administration, to settling the estate. This can put significant pressure on you at a time when you are grieving the loss of someone close to you.
Many people who inherit money from a loved one simply have no idea of the timescales involved and it is common for them to put pressure on the person administering the estate. If you are concerned about this happening, you may want to appoint a professional to deal with everything on your behalf and take the pressure off you.
Though there is no will to be contested when someone dies intestate, some relatives may wish to appeal against the distribution of the estate. For example, if a relative or common law spouse lived with the deceased and relied on them financially, they may appeal. This will put a huge strain on you, and also on your relationship with them, so it may be wise to appoint an expert.
Another common problem is where children under the age of 18 are entitled to a proportion, or all of the estate. In this case it is important to appoint someone to administer the will on your behalf, and you should get legal advice immediately.

How Long Does It Take To Get Letters of Administration

How Long Does It Take To Get Letters of Administration

If a loved one has died intestate and you are legally entitled to administrate the will you may be wondering how long it all takes. From the initial application for letters of administration, it usually takes around 4-6 weeks before you receive the documents. This is just the start, after you receive the letters, which entitle you to access the deceased’s financial accounts you may have a lot of work ahead of you. If your loved one has left significant assets and their finances are not straightforward at all, administering the will could take years.
Whatever your situation, it is important to apply as quickly as possible. This may feel difficult when you are grieving the death of a loved one. But you don’t need to do it alone. A specialist probate service can administer the deceased’s estate on your behalf.
If you speak to them immediately, they will be able to advise you, offer you up-front fixed fee costs and deal with everything from applying for letter of administration, to distributing the proceeds of the estate.
If you decide to administer the estate yourself, there are several important things that you should know. If the estate is liable to inheritance tax, values of assets are taken at the time of death, not the time of sale. So it is important to get any property etc. valued as soon as possible. Form IHT 400 must be completed for inheritance tax purposes. This is similar to a tax return but much longer and if you are not familiar with completing tax returns, it would be wise to get professional advice.
Even if no inheritance tax is payable, you will need to complete tax form IHT 205 and send it directly to the Probate Registry.
If the deceased was living abroad at the time of death, this may make it more difficult to administer the estate and it would make sense to appoint a specialist to apply for letters of administration on your behalf and deal with the estate.
Also, if the deceased held shares in a variety of different companies, or their assets are difficult to track down, you may need specialist help.
A major problem when a loved one dies intestate is that the administrator may become resentful of their deceased relative for leaving them with a huge mess to sort out. This is a shame when you are trying to deal with the loss of your loved one, and if you have any doubts about dealing with administration at this difficult time, it would be wise to appoint a specialist probate service.
They will be able to apply for letters of administration on your behalf, and deal with every aspect of your loved ones estate, giving you time to grieve your loss.

Who Is Entitled To Apply For Letters of Administration?

If a loved one has died intestate, you may have learned that you will need to apply for Letters of Administration to administer your loved ones estate. Letters of Administration are similar to Grants of Probate. Both are applications for permission to access the deceased’s finances and deal with the estate.
The difference is, the executors of the will would apply for Grants of Probate. But when someone dies intestate there is no will, so an Administrator would deal with the estate as opposed to an Executor and the law has specific rules on who is eligible to administer the will of the deceased.
Depending on the relatives left behind, the deceased’s estate will be dealt with by one of the following family members, in this exact order: Husband, wife or civil partner, but not common law partner, adult children including adopted children but not step-children, parents, brothers and sisters or their children, grandparents, aunts and uncles but not their spouses.
Once you have established which relative is entitled to apply for Letters of Administration, you will need to decide whether they are going to deal with the estate themselves at this terrible time of grief, or if they are going to use a specialist probate service to act on their behalf.
Although applying for the initial Letters of Administration is quite straightforward, you will need to gather a lot of information about the deceased’s finances, before you fill out the application. Because there is no will to guide you on this, it can be a complicated affair in itself. So if your loved one has left significant assets it may be better to appoint a specialist service to administer the estate on your behalf from the outset.
It is difficult to focus on financial matters when you are grieving, and if children under the age of 18 have been left behind, or the deceased owns shares, businesses, land or property, dealing with an intestate will can become extremely complicated. Plus it can drag on for years, so it makes sense to use a specialist probate service to speed things up, especially if relatives left behind were financially independent on the deceased.
Another good reason for using a specialist service to apply for Letters of Administration on your behalf is taxes. The law requires that taxes are paid after death, not once the estate has been dealt with but a specialist service will know ways to get around this.
It is important that the relative responsible for administering the estate is aware of all these issues before they apply for decide whether to administer the estate themselves.

Defining Terms when Applying for Letters of Administration

six1 Defining Terms when Applying for Letters of AdministrationSurprisingly; approximately two-thirds of Brits die without making a will. In these cases, instead of applying for a grant of probate the next of kin (according to intestacy law) applies for letters of administration. This can be extremely confusing; opening up a whole new vocabulary of legal terminology. If you’ve never experienced this before – it can be very daunting.
Here’s a quick guide to some terms you’re likely to come across and what they mean. It’s written in a simple, concise manner and therefore, easy to understand. 
Administrator – The person who make the application for Letters of Administration.
Caveat - A simple form which can be lodged at any registry office that will prevent anyone from applying for Probate.
Deed of Variation – A legal document written after death to redistribute a person’s assets. It is normally used in cases of intestacy to mitigate inheritance tax liability, providing everyone involved agrees.
Grant of Letters of Administration – See Letters of Administration.

Intestacy – A case of intestacy or intestate death simply means someone who has passed away without a valid will.
Intestacy Law – The law that governs what happens to a person’s estate if they did not make a will. See also Rules of Intestacy.
Letters of Administration – are applied for in cases of intestacy. This is essentially the same as the executor of a will applying for Probate. The ‘letters’ are simply a legal document which give the deceased’s representative the legal authority to handle the deceased affairs. This is necessary when dealing with financial institutions for access to monies, shares and to sell property.
Partial Intestacy – is when there is a will but it does not fully dispose of the deceased's assets.

Personal Representative – The PR is the person dealing with the estate of the deceased person.

Probate Registry – A Division of the High Court permitted to give a person legal authority to deal with the assets of a deceased person.

Rules of Intestacy - determine who can apply for probate to deal with the deceased’s affairs and how the estate will be distributed. This is based on next of kin or closest blood relatives; you can find full details by clicking on the link to our intestacy chart.
You can bookmark the page for quick reference to use later on. If you need any more help, you can also call our free-phone number 0800 612 6105 – you can speak to a friendly, knowledgeable advisor right up until 10pm, 7 days a week.

Intestacy and Letters of Administration

If a loved one has died without making a will, you may have been told that you will need to apply for letters of administration, to enable you to administer the deceased’s estate. All this can be overwhelming, when you have just lost a close family member, but it doesn’t need to be as complicated as it sounds.
What are Letters of Administration and Why Do You Need Them?
Letters of administration are documents that you need to give to the financial institutions that hold the deceased’s assets, to prove that you are entitled to deal with their estate and access their finances.
If the deceased has assets of over £5000 and you don’t hold joint accounts with the deceased, you will need to apply for letters of administration, before you can access their finances. But the initial application is not as complicated as it sounds.
You will need to fill out probate form PA1 and send it off with a cheque of £105. You will also need to pay and additional £1 per copy of the letter to send to each institution.
Does the Process Differ From Dealing With an Estate Where a Will Has Been Made?
The initial application is not a great deal different whether a will has been made or not. If a will was left, the executor would apply for probate, to gain access to the deceased’s finances, instead of letters of administration.
When no will has been left there is no executor, so the law decides who will deal with the finances of the deceased. This depends on what relatives survive the deceased, and the law ranks them in the following order:
  1. Husband or wife; but not a common law partner.
  2. Children.
  3. Grandchildren.
  4. Parents.
  5. Brothers and sisters.
  6. Grandparents.
  7. Uncles and aunts – but not their spouses.
The other major difference is, because a will has not been made the law has clear guidelines on how the estate should be distributed and this can cause complications. For example, if your loved one had a common law partner, he/she may appeal. Also other relatives may appeal, if they feel they are entitled to more of the estate than the law allows.
Another major difference is inheritance tax. Inheritance tax allowances are not as generous, when someone dies intestate.
If you feel that your loved ones estate may be too complicated to deal with. Or you don’t want the additional pressure, during your time of grief, you are entitled to appoint a probate service to apply for letters of administration and deal with the deceased’s estate on your behalf.

Responsibilities When You Are Granted Letters of Administration

When a loved one dies intestate, you will need to apply for letters of administration to gain access to the deceased’s bank accounts and other assets. The application is straightforward enough. However, the responsibilities that come with dealing with a loved ones estate may not be so straightforward, especially when you are still grieving. Only you can decide whether you would be able to cope with doing it all yourself.
Once you are granted letters of administration, you will need to find all the assets belonging to the estate. You will also need to pay off any debts owed by the deceased and discover whether they have any debts owing to them. You will then need to chase those debts up.
Next you will need to find out who is entitled to the deceased’s assets, by checking the rules of intestacy. This alone can be difficult because even though the rules of intestacy are set out by law, some family members may feel that they have not been sufficiently provided for. They may have the right to appeal and this can cause stress and conflict, if you have to deal with it all yourself.
Dealing with a relative’s affairs when they have died intestate is far more complicated than if they have left a will. It really is a huge burden, and in some cases it can drag on for years. Then when you have finally dealt with everything, you will need to calculate inheritance tax owing, and deal with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, before you distribute the deceased’s assets.
All this can be far too much for most people to cope with and if you are not confident that you can cope with it, it would be wise to seek legal assistance, before you apply for letters of administration. But if you are worried about the expense of having a solicitor deal with the estate, it may be worth seeking advice and assistance from a probate specialist such as IWC; who offer fixed fee probate services. That way, you will know the exact fees upfront and you won’t have to worry about running up massive hourly charges.
If you are still not sure whether you want to deal with your loved ones estate, it is worth finding out how complicated your case might be. IWC Probate Specialists will be happy to give you free advice. You will then be able to decide whether you want to apply for letters of administration yourself, and handle your loved ones financial affairs.  Call now on 0800 612 6105.

Do You Need to Apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration?

six Do You Need to Apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration?If a close relative has died intestate, meaning that they did not make a will, you may need to apply for a grant of letters of administration. This will enable you to gain access to your deceased relative’s assets, so that you can deal with their estate.

In certain circumstances, letters of administration are not necessary. If your relative left assets of under £5000 after the funeral fees were paid, you may not need to apply for a grant. Or if the only assets are shared property, or money in joint bank accounts it may not be required.

Relatives entitled to apply for a grant of letters of administration include the spouse of the deceased, their parents, or their children, and they must send the application to the probate registry. This can be a daunting experience; in addition to grieving the death of a loved one, you will need to deal with the complications that dying without a will can cause. 

When someone dies intestate, it is often far more difficult to deal with the distribution of their estate. Some situations complicate the procedure even further. For example, if children under the age of 18 are entitled to benefit from the inheritance, more than one person must apply.  

Tax can cause additional complications when someone dies intestate, there could be a hefty bill to pay, without any plan in place to lessen liability.  It is possible to alter intestacy to mitigate tax, provided that everyone affected agrees.  As inheritance tax can be complicated and confusing, it is advisable to instruct a legal practitioner to work on your behalf.  They can apply for a grant of letters of administration and help you to deal with the distribution of the estate.

If the assets of your deceased relative have a large financial value, the laws of intestacy set particular rules on how you must distribute the assets. For example, if a spouse dies intestate and the inheritance exceeds a certain sum, other close relatives may be entitled to a portion of the deceased’s estate.

It may be possible to appeal against the way the assets are to be distributed.  For example, you may be a close relative of the deceased and you do not believe that you are getting your fair share of the estate. Also, if you are a common law partner, that was financially reliant on the deceased, you may be entitled to appeal.

Appeals can be complicated and you must make an application within 6 months. If you intend to appeal, it would be wise to seek advice from a legal practitioner before the letters of administration are issued.

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