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But anyone with a pen and a piece of paper (or these days, access to the internet and a working printer) seems to think ...
Butlers Blog
Wills Blogs
The simple fact is that most people should have a Will. If you have a spouse, children, assets or liabilities, you shoul...
Butlers Blog
Wills Blogs
 Over time, all of these questions may be clarified with the help of an Estates Lawyer, a Grant of Probate may be o...

Covid-19 Updates & News

25 March 2020
Butlers Blog
Covid-19 Updates & the Law
Now, let’s get straight to the point….. There is no need to explain the potential impact of COVID-19 on the economy. It has already been seen around the world with a significant impact on share prices...
24 March 2020
Butlers Blog
Covid-19 Updates & the Law
COVID 19 is causing uncertainty in so many areas.  One question we are being asked, is “How it will affect existing Parenting Orders or Parenting Plans?”.  The answer to this will vary, depe...
07 April 2020
Butlers Blog
Covid-19 Updates & the Law
It is encouraging to see young people taking the initiative to ensure that they have up-to-date Wills during the uncertainty we’re facing caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic.  However, it would be ev...

Our Wills Team

Elliot Ryan
Senior Associate
Junior Lawyer
Junior Lawyer

What is the difference between Probate & Letters of Administration?

It can be very difficult when someone close to you dies, and the legal work that follows can be overwhelming.

We aim to alleviate the legal pain, by assisting you to obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, whichever is appropriate.

A Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, allows the representative of the deceased person to deal with their Estate, either in accordance with the Will or the Administration Act (WA) 1903.

You might wonder, what is the difference between a Grant of Probate and a Grant of Letters of Administration, and when do I apply for one or the other?

 A Grant of Probate is applied for when the deceased left a valid Will, and the Executor/s are willing and able to apply for a Grant of Probate from the Supreme Court.

Probate

If the deceased dies with a Will, the Executor appointed under that Will has the authority to administer the deceased’s estate.

Before administering the estate, the Executor must apply to the Supreme Court of Western Australia for a Grant of Probate. The Grant of Probate proves the validity of the Will and gives the Executor the legal authority to administer the Estate, in accordance with the Will.

You will likely require a Grant of Probate if the deceased owned assets at the date of death such as bank accounts, shares or real estate held solely in their name or as tenants in common with another person.

It may not be necessary to make an application for a Grant of Probate where:

  • all of the deceased’s assets are jointly owned;
  • the deceased’s only other assets were personal possessions;
  • the deceased only left a motor vehicle, in which case, the Department of Transport can advise whether a Grant of Probate is required; or
  • the deceased’s assets include bank accounts or shares, which fall under the threshold for requiring a Grant of Probate.

We recommend that you contact the institutions (ie. banks, superannuation funds etc) that hold the assets as to whether they require a Grant of Probate to release the particular assets.

The Supreme Court of Western Australia only has jurisdiction to issue a Grant of Probate if the deceased left assets in Western Australia at the date of death.

At Butlers, we can:

  • Advise you in relation to applying for a Grant of Probate;
  • Prepare the necessary documents on your behalf;
  • Assist you with administering simple and complex Estates;
  • Assist you in making inquiries relating to assets and liabilities of the Estate; and
  • Correspond with beneficiaries of the Estate, on your behalf.

Please contact us if you require assistance with applying for a Grant of Probate

Letters of Administration

When a person dies without a Will, they are said to have died intestate. In most circumstances, a Grant of Letters of Administration will be required to administer the deceased’s estate.

It is necessary to identify who is entitled to inherit a share of the Estate under intestacy laws, as set out in section 14 of the Administration Act 1903. It is also necessary for the person applying for the Grant of Letters of Administration to obtain the written consent of the other persons entitled in the Estate.

In Western Australia, the estate of a person who dies intestate may be distributed amongst the deceased’s:

  • spouse;
  • children;
  • grandchildren; and
  • in some instances, parents, siblings or nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins.

In the rare circumstances that the deceased died leaving no surviving relatives as entitled under the laws of intestacy, the whole of the estate passes to the Crown by way of escheat.

Other instances where Letters of Administration may be required:

  • a Will has been executed, but does not appoint an Executor or the Executor is unable or unwilling to act;
  • a Will has been executed, but does not dispose of the residue of the Estate;
  • The Executor appointed in the Will lives outside of the jurisdiction;
  • The Executor named in the Will is underage;
  • The Executor named in the Will does not have capacity; or
  • Where the Executor who obtained a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration has died without finalising the administration of an estate.

Applying for a Grant of Letters of Administration can be substantially more complex than applying for a Grant of Probate and it is very often necessary to obtain legal advice with regards to the process.

At Butlers, we can:

  • Advise you on your rights to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration;
  • Prepare the necessary documents on your behalf;
  • Assist you with administering simple and complex Estates;
  • Assist you in making inquiries relating to assets and liabilities of the Estate; and
  • Correspond with beneficiaries of the Estate, on your behalf.

Please contact us if you require assistance with an application for a Grant of Letters of Administration.