When a deceased person who owns a great amount of property, accounts and estates dies without a living will, the court is usually the place where people run to apply for letters of administration for a deceased estate.
So, what is a letter of administration and who are the people allowed to apply?
Letter of administration is granted by the court (Probate court) to assign a suited person to handle the deceased person’s estates, accounts and other properties in case there are no named executors or no living will is left. The people who usually apply for a letter of administration are people close to the deceased or a relative that is mentally capable and willing to take the responsibility.
The required papers when applying for a letter of administration are as follows:
1. A certified copy of the death certificate
2. A completely filled form of “intestacy request for Indemnity” filled by the next of kin.
Sometimes, an executor of the will is named but there are cases when the executor is unable to manage the division of will due to sickness, mental incapacity or unwillingness on the part of the executor. In this case, the one applying for the letter of administration should also include a certified copy of the will so that the executor can be identified.
Once the court has decided on the application for the letter of administration, the authorized person will then be the one responsible for resolving the issues of the estate. Before disposing the properties of the deceased person, you must first settle the debts and claims of the estates. You should also pay the due tax of the estates that needs to be paid for. After all the issues have been settled, the property will be divided to the beneficiaries according to the laws of descent and distribution. According to the law, the property and other assets are divided according to already established rules of inheritance based on the blood relations, marriages and adoptions (if any). Using this law, the beneficiaries will receive the correct amount for them and biases will be prevented. Biases in the division of properties and assets are usually the source of more misunderstandings within the family.
While the court has not appointed someone to be a legal executor or has not approved the application of letter for administrations yet, the properties, estates and accounts are usually frozen for the benefit of all concern. Or a temporary special administrator can be assigned by the court. The authority of the assigned person is very limited and if a living will that is valid is discovered, then the disposition of the estate will be according to the will.
Legal help might be needed when you are applying for a letter of administration. Legal help, from a avocat spécialisé succession most of the time, will guide you through the process and will help you preparing the necessary paper works.