Law of Estate
What is Letter of Administration?

What is Letter of Administration?

The Letter of Administration (LA) is an official document, in the form of an Order or Declaration, issued in cases where a person passes away without leaving a Will.

The authority to grant the Letter of Administration lies with  specific institutions, namely the High Court. These entities possess the legal power to issue the Letter of Administration, which enables the appointed administrator to manage and distribute the deceased person’s estate in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations

If There Is No Will Or The Will Is Invalid (Intestate)

Dealing with the estate of a person who passes away without a Will can indeed be more complex. The approach taken to handle the deceased person’s estate depends on the nature of the assets (movable or immovable) and the gross value of the estate in cases of intestacy (when a person passes away without leaving a Will).

In situations where there is no valid Will, the distribution of the estate will be governed by the Distribution Act 1958. According to this act, the lawful beneficiaries identified under the law will need to select an Administrator from among all those with an interest in the deceased person’s estate.

The Administrator is the individual who is granted a Letter of Administration, which authorizes them to administer the estate of the deceased person. The lawful beneficiaries mutually choose one or two administrators by renouncing their own rights to assume the role of Administrator. It is important to note that the Court holds the authority to appoint the Administrator.

It is advisable to seek legal advice and guidance to navigate the process of intestate estate administration effectively, ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Once the Administrator is appointed, they will proceed to apply for Letters of Administration (LA) from the High Court. Alternatively, if there are beneficiaries named in a valid Will, they may apply for a Distribution Order from the land office, which will be issued by the District Land Administrator.

Once the LA is obtained, the duties and responsibilities of the Administrator are similar to those of an Executor. They are tasked with managing and administering the estate, including gathering the assets, paying off debts and liabilities, and distributing the remaining estate to the lawful beneficiaries according to the laws governing intestacy or the provisions of a valid Will, if applicable.

What are the documents needed to apply for Letter of Administration?

To apply for a Letter of Administration (LA) in cases where there is no valid Will, the court appoints an administrator to manage and administer the deceased person’s estate. The most suitable person to be appointed as the administrator is generally a beneficiary of the deceased person’s estate. The application for LA must be supported by the following documents:

  1. Death certificate of the deceased individual.
  2. Identity card (IC) of the Administrator.
  3. List of Beneficiaries along with their identity cards (IC).
  4. Comprehensive list of the assets owned by the deceased.
  5. List of the liabilities and debts of the deceased.
  6. Administration oath, if there are any minor interests involved.
  7. Renunciation by other beneficiaries who are entitled to the grant but did not apply.
  8. Any additional documents that the lawyer may require during the application process.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements and procedures may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the particular circumstances of the case. Consulting with a probate lawyer or seeking legal advice is recommended to ensure that all necessary documents are correctly prepared and submitted for the application of a Letter of Administration.

Written by Lawyer Khoo


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