Letters Of Administration Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Letters Of Administration, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Letters Of Administration?

(n) Letters of Administration is the document issued by the court establishing the authority of an administrator of the estate of a deceased person, when such administrator is appointed by a court in the absence of naming of an administrator in the will.

History and Meaning of Letters Of Administration

Letters of Administration is a legal document issued by a court to authorize a person to administer the estate of a deceased individual who did not leave a valid will. The person authorized to handle the estate is called an administrator. The Letters of Administration give the administrator legal authority to collect and distribute the assets of the deceased according to the state's intestacy laws, which dictate how assets should be distributed when there is no valid will.

In the past, letters of administration were granted by the ecclesiastical courts in the United Kingdom before they were transferred to the civil courts. The objective was to ensure that the estate's property would be properly distributed. When an administrator is appointed by the court, they take over the role of the executor (if there is no will), and they are granted similar powers.

Examples of Letters Of Administration

  • John died without a will, and as his next of kin, Jane applied for Letters of Administration to manage his estate.
  • The probate court granted Letters of Administration to the eldest son of the deceased to handle the dispersal of the family's properties.
  • A lawyer was hired to assist the client in applying for Letters of Administration to manage the assets of her deceased spouse.
  • As the named executor was deceased, a family member applied to the court for Letters of Administration to administer the deceased's assets.

Legal Terms Similar to Letters Of Administration

  • Estate Administration: Estate administration is the process of handling the legal and financial responsibilities of a person who has passed away.
  • Probate: Probate refers to the legal process after a person's death that involves the validation of the person’s will, payment of debts, and transfer of property to beneficiaries.
  • Intestate: Intestate refers to a person who dies without leaving behind a valid will.
  • Executor: An executor is a person named in a will, tasked with carrying out the instructions in the will.
  • Beneficiary: A beneficiary is any person who is designated to receive something of value under the terms of a will or other legal arrangement.