Obtain Letters of Administration - Transfer Assets
1. What are Letters of Administration
Letters of Administration, also known as a Grant of Letters of Administration, is an official document issued by the Supreme Court of Queensland which declares the name of the person who has the formal authority to handle the financial matters of a deceased person.
There are two common situations where Letters of Administration are applied for:
- When someone dies without having a last Will and Testament; or
- Where there is a Will but the Executor appointed in the Will cannot act and no one else is mentioned in the Will as the backup Executor.
If you have a Will and the Executor named in the Will is able and willing to act then you may require a Grant of Probate and not Letters of Administration.
2. Whether you need Letters of Administration
Letters of Administration are not always required to finalise the transfer of estate money and property. Usually if a Grant is requested from a Bank, Superannuation Fund, Insurance Company or other Property Group then they will require it. However, we have had many situations where a Grant has been requested from the above institutions and with a bit of negotiation have been able to release assets without it. Our tips are as follows:Bank Accounts
There are legal thresholds that allow for smaller estates to release assets without incurring the costs of obtaining a Grant in Queensland. Usually for Banking Institutions you can have deposits in bank accounts released up to the amount of $15,000. It is important to realise that Bank Staff are not always going to know the law so you may be asked for a Grant in the confusion between Bank departments. In such circumstances you may wish to print out section 69B Banking Act 1959 and take it to the Bank.Property
Real property can be transferred without a Grant if the property is owed as Joint Tenants on the Land Title (and not as Tenants In Common). Alternatively, a property can be transferred on the condition that the value of all the assets in the estate are under $300,000 and 6 months has passed since death.Estate Bank Cheques
Even if families are successful with releasing estate monies without a Grant, for example an insurance payout or superannuation payout, a cheque may be issued with the name of the Estate on it. Unfortunately many Banking Institutes will not deposit such cheques until you open a Bank Account in the name of the estate. To open a bank account in the name of an Estate some Banking Institutions will require a Grant of Letters of Administration.
3. Who can apply for Letters of Administration
Where there is no Will, a legal set of rules are applied to determine who has the higher priority to act as the representative of the estate. When someone higher in priority does not wish to act, or, cannot act then the priority shifts to the next person in the list.
The order of priority applies as follows (1) surviving spouse, (2) children, (3) grandchildren or great-grandchildren, (4) parents, (5) brothers and sisters, (6) children of deceased brothers and sisters, (7) grandparents, (8) uncles and aunts, (9) first cousins (10) than anyone else the court may appoint.What Can Go Wrong? Read More
4. WAYS you can obtain Letters of Administration
Inheritance Solutions organise Grants of Letters of Administration in Queensland. Other ways of obtaining a Grant of Letters of Administration along with average prices are detailed in each of the above Tabs (click tabs for more information) . Inheritance Solutions represents the best value by giving you access to professional services at affordable prices. Our advantages are:
Our team is led by Nathan Basnett, award winning, local Wills & Estates Consultant ( Juris Doctor );
We organise Letters of Administration as fast as possible;
We are fully licensed and insured;
We have the ability to fix prices; and
We have extensive experience as a dedicated team to the area of inheritances.
While rarely done, families can represent themselves and complete their own Originating Application to the Supreme Court Registry in Brisbane. The Supreme Court of Queensland website gives some basic information on representing yourself, but from our experience not enough to make the process easy. You will have to read and have a good understanding of the Succession Act 1981 (Qld) and Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) to give you a better chance of being successful in your Application.
Our Comparative Solution! We can obtain Letters of Administration for you, if you wish to lower your costs Inheritance Solutions gives you the ability to attend to the estate administration yourself. This gives you the ability to save money while the complicated Letters of Administration part is completed for you.
DIY Letters of Administration Kits can provide additional commentary on completing a Supreme Court Letters of Administration Forms yourself. DIY Letters of Administration Kits make applicants sign-off on their own Application making the applicant the contact person who is fully responsible to the Supreme Court Registrar. Some DIY Kits can be assisted / supported by staff, or, just a document containing some additional instructions and guidelines on what to do. The biggest problem with DIY Kits are that they are limited in their use and do not take into account every situation, worse yet you have to pay for them in advance before you see their quality.
Even if they do come with phone / staff support you should question who you are talking to on the other end, what's their qualification and liability before you take their advice, often you will see a big disclosure that they cannot give legal advice (either because they hold no legal qualification, have no insurance or deny any liability). This often results in documents being prepared without reliable advice and making the applicant fully responsible for the consequences.
On Google Assisted DIY Letters of Administration Kits are around $1,250 (excluding Supreme Court Filing Fees and Grant Advertisement Fees).
Our Comparative Solution! Instead of a DIY Kit our qualified team can obtain only the Letters of Administration allowing you to attend to the rest of the estate administration yourself. Our solution provides a lot more assurance than a standalone DIY Kit because our services are guaranteed.
The Public Trustee is a Government associated group who acts as Trustee (controller) in a variety of matters. The Public Trustee has the ability to operate privately to obtain a Grant of Letters of Administration however they are a Fee for Service Operation.As at the 17 July 2018 to engage the Public Trustee the fees for their legal services using the Official Solicitor started at $2,080.95* for a standard Grant Application (excluding Supreme Court Filing Fees and Grant Advertisement Fees), total estimated costs $3,401.95 paid before the service starts. Fees are subject to increase if your Grant Application is not Standard i.e. any additional documents are required.* Prices Subject to Change.
Our Comparative Solution! Our flexibility allows us to offer a more tailored service that allows you to stay in Control of your own estate administration.
Generally one of the most expensive ways to obtain a Grant of Letters of Administration is to engage a commercial law firm instead of a dedicated Inheritance Law Firm (such as Inheritance Solutions). Certainly if you can afford it then seeking out a commercial law firm is another way to obtain Letters of Administration. Our team leader, Nathan Basnett, worked as a Solicitor locally for prestigious law firms, however he was disappointed with the time-billing structures of such law firms. He now helps locals organise better solutions through total fixed costs at Inheritance Solutions.
It is not uncommon for legal fees alone to start at $2,200 to organise a Grant of Letters of Administration with a commercial law firm (excluding Supreme Court Filing Fees and Grant Advertisement Fees), total estimated costs being more than $3,000, subject to increase.
It is important to consider whether legal fees are fixed or time-based and whether your legal provider has extensive client-reviews to deliver on promises.
Your Inheritance Solution! Inheritance Solutions' qualified team can help you save a significant amount of money by obtaining a Grant of Letters of Administration through us. Our price is significantly lower than the above average price because we do more estates work then other law firms. Our price is listed on the above Fixed Fees Tab. Avoid excessive Solicitor's fees and contact us today!
The below fees are applicable to every Grant of Letters of Administration Application in Queensland. As at the 1 January 2019 (Updated Fee Legislation Introduced):
- Supreme Court Filing Fee - $706.70 (Government Concession Card Holders may be eligible for a Reduced Filing Fee - $128.90)
- Advertisement: 1 x Queensland Law Reporter – $161.70
Inheritance Solutions legal fee for organising a Full Service Standard Letters of Administration Application (subject to our review):
- for applicants of a late child or husband/wife a reduced fixed legal fee of $1,200 excluding the above listed disbursements; or
- for applicants of a late parent or otherwise $1,700 excluding the above listed disbursements to address additional legislative procedure.
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