Letters of Administration in WA

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Letters of Administration from $900 (inc GST) + Court filing fee

Our fee includes:

 Consultation with a lawyer;

 Preparation of the Letters of Administration application for the sole Administrator;

 Witnessing the Administrator's affidavit;

 Court lodgment; and

 Providing the Grant to you.

What additional fees could apply?

Additional fees will apply to certain applications:

  1. for each joint administrator's application;
  2. for any consents required from any beneficiaries;
  3. when one or more probate caveats, citations or subpoenas are required to be issued;
  4. when a Langate search is required to identify property of the deceased;
  5. to perform a search of the Probate registry for previous applications or Grants;
  6. when a deed of vesting is required for minors;
  7. to deal with any issues which may arise from the Application in order to comply with the Court's rules (eg. locating missing beneficiaries and addressing errors on a death certificate) or when a requisition is issued by the Court;
  8. when a deed of family arrangement is required by the parties;
  9. when advice is required by the Applicant or Administrator; and
  10. when we act for the Applicant in a dispute.


Do I need to apply for Letters of Administration in WA?

If the deceased person did not leave a Will, or the Will is invalid and they left some assets in WA, you will most likely need to obtain Letters of Administration in WA.

In WA, a deceased estate includes all the property of a deceased person and may include (for example):

  1. land solely owned or owned tenants in common with another person;
  2. an interest in land (eg. a lease); and
  3. personal property (eg. bank account, car, shares, life insurance, patent or money).

If you are unsure if you need Letters of Administration, give us a call.


What is Letters of Administration?

Letters of Administration is the process of applying to the Supreme Court of WA to administer the estate of a deceased person pursuant to section 14 of the Administration Act 1903. This Act sets out a formula which determines how the net assets of a deceased estate are to be distributed. The distribution to each family member is different depending upon who are the surviving relatives.


Proposed amendments to the Administration Act 1903

The Parliament of Western Australia is considering whether to amend section 14 of the Administration Act 1903 to increase the amount of a spouse's legacy to $435,000 where the person died intestate leaving children and $650,000 where the person died leaving no children. The Explanatory Memorandum to the amendment bill indicates that the changes to the law are to take effect from the date of Royal Assent or the day following.

The amendment bill also seeks to amend the parental statutory legacy from $6,000 to $52,000. The parental statutory legacy applies where the deceased has living parents and/or siblings or siblings' issue but does not have a surviving husband, wife, partner or issue.


Who can apply for Letters of Administration?

A person who is entitled to a benefit from a deceased estate can make an application to be the Administrator. Generally this will be a parent, spouse or child of the deceased person. The Administration Act 1903 explains who is entitled to apply to be an Administrator.


What is the process to obtain Letters of Administration in WA?

The process for obtaining a grant of Letters of Administration in WA involves the following steps:

  1. obtaining the original death certificate;
  2. determining the location and value of the assets and liabilities of the estate (and there must be some assets in WA);
  3. preparing the Court documents for the application;
  4. lodging the application with the Supreme Court; and
  5. responding to any requisition notices from the Court.

Any application for Letters of Administration must be made in compliance with the requirements of the Non-contentious Probate Rules 1967, the Rules of the Supreme Court 1971 and the general practice of the Court.


Can there be more than one Administrator?

If you wish to apply to be an Administrator, you are not restricted to applying by yourself. Another person can act as a Joint Administrator with you, which can assist with carrying out the duties of an Administrator.


Can a Deed of Family Arrangement be used to vary the distribution under the Administration Act?

Yes. A Deed of Family Arrangement can be executed by the beneficiaries to vary the rights and interests of one or more of the beneficiaries. If the changes concern a different entitlement to land, there are duty (formally stamp duty) implications in WA and there may be Capital Gains Tax implications. You can read greater details about this issue in our publication titled "Can the beneficiaries amend the terms of a deceased's Will?"


What happens if the deceased estate is bankrupt?

If the deceased person's debts exceed their assets, the estate will be bankrupt.

Bankrupt estates can raise complex legal issues. If you are unsure if you should apply for Letters of Administration if the estate is bankrupt, give us a call.


Can an eligible beneficiary commence an inheritance claim?

Yes. An eligible beneficiary has a period of 6 months after the Grant of Letters of Administration to commence a claim. After that time, the Supreme Court must grant permission for the claim to proceed.

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