Dying Without a Will? Here’s What You Need to Do…

Dying intestate means the death of a person who has died without a will. In such cases, the rules of the state and territory apply as to how their Estate is administered. An Estate consists of a person’s assets as well as their liabilities. Assets include the person’s property and belongings of value like house, car and bank accounts, while the liabilities include money that the person owed like mortgage or loans. In such cases, an administrator is needed. An administrator is required to fulfil the following tasks:

  • Finding out the beneficiaries and contacting them. The beneficiaries are people who will be given something from the person’s Estate. These beneficiaries can be anyone from interstate or overseas. 
  • The next task is to protect the person’s assets and make sure they are safe. The administrator would have to take out insurance and secure the assets too. Like the assets, the administrator is also responsible for paying outstanding bills and debts from the Estate funds and arranging to have the assets valued.
  • The administrator needs to provide death notifications to the banks, Centrelink and the Australian Tax office. The administer is also responsible for lodging tax returns if needed and resolving various disputes between the different beneficiaries. 
  • Another important task that needs to be done by the administrator is to claim life insurance and superannuation and distribute assets according to relevant state and territory intestacy law. In addition to this, the administrator also needs to get the deceased’s property ready for sale if there is any real estate included in the Estate. 

Who Can Become an Administrator and How to Apply for Letters of Administration?


An administrator can be a person or a trustee company like the state trustees. The court, based on the application, issues a grant of letters of administration. The closest next of kin can apply to be the administrator by applying for permission to administer the Estate. The closest person to the deceased can also ask a solicitor or a trustee company to apply for them. The person who administers the Estate is an administrator rather than an Executor. However, the duties of both are usually the same. 

If one wants to apply for letters of administration, there are some steps that needed to be followed. These include:

  • Advertising online about one’s application
  • Submission of the application to the probate office along with a copy of the death certificate. 
  • In addition to this, confirmation of the Estate’s assets and liabilities and proof that you are the closest next of kin is also needed. 
  • The Registrar of Probate will also see proof of the relationship if the next of the kin is a domestic partner. The person will also need to include an affidavit or any other legal document that would prove the relationship’s existence.