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Probate and Letters Of Administration: Who Manages the Money?

When a family member or relative dies, it is important to know how their property will be allocated to their surviving relatives and who is responsible for allocating and dividing the property accordingly. Often a person’s assets will be frozen after their death and only the Courts can authorize someone to access their assets and allocate it among the surviving relatives. There are generally two ways for a Court to appoint someone to manage the money of the deceased.

Where the deceased has left a will, an executor(s) will typically be named in the will. A person who is named as an executor(s) of a will can apply to Court for a grant of probate. This grant of probate will allow the executor(s) to access the deceased assets and the executor will be responsible for managing and allocating the assets in accordance with the deceased persons wishes under the will.

Where a deceased person has not written a will, the person is said to have died intestate and the Court will appoint an administrator(s) to manage and divide the deceased’s assets. The administrator(s) will typically be chosen according to his/her relationship to the deceased. The persons who would be appointed as administrator(s) are listed in the Intestate Succession Act in the following order of priority: (1) the spouse, (2) the children of the deceased, (3) the parents, (4) brothers and sisters, (5) nephews and nieces, (6) grandparents, and (7) uncles and aunts. The administrator appointed by the Courts would be granted letters of administration which allow him/her to access the deceased’s assets. Like an executor, an administrator is responsible for managing and allocating the deceased’s assets but instead of following the provisions of a will, an administrator will have to follow the provisions of the law in dividing the assets.

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