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  • Writer's pictureAdministrator - Usman & Partners

Probate vs Letter of Administration

Probate and Letters of Administration are legal concepts related to the administration of a deceased person's estate. They pertain to different circumstances and have distinct purposes. Here's a comparison of the two:


**Probate:**

1. **Applicability:** Probate is typically relevant when a deceased person left behind a valid will that names an executor to administer the estate.

2. **Executor:** The person named as the executor in the will is responsible for applying for probate. The executor is usually someone chosen by the deceased and is tasked with carrying out the wishes outlined in the will.

3. **Process:** The executor files a probate application with the appropriate court. The court reviews the will to ensure its validity and grants a probate certificate if everything is in order.

4. **Authority:** With a probate certificate, the executor has legal authority to distribute the deceased person's assets according to the instructions in the will.

5. **Role of the Court:** The court's role is to validate the will, oversee the process, and ensure that the deceased's wishes are carried out correctly.


**Letter of Administration:**

1. **Applicability:** Letters of Administration come into play when a person dies without a valid will (intestate) or when a will exists but does not name an executor, the named executor is unable or unwilling to act, or the will is deemed invalid.

2. **Administrator:** In the absence of an executor named in the will, an administrator is appointed. The administrator is usually a family member of the deceased and is chosen according to the law's hierarchy.

3. **Process:** The administrator applies for Letters of Administration, submitting required documents to the court. The court reviews the application and, if approved, issues the Letters of Administration.

4. **Authority:** With Letters of Administration, the administrator is granted the legal authority to manage and distribute the deceased person's estate following the rules of intestacy laws (laws that govern distribution of assets when there's no will).

5. **Role of the Court:** The court ensures that the distribution of assets follows legal guidelines and oversees the appointment of the administrator.


In summary, probate is applicable when there's a valid will and an executor is named, while Letters of Administration are relevant in cases of intestacy (no will) or when there's no valid will or executor named. Both processes involve court approval to give legal authority to the executor or administrator, allowing them to manage and distribute the deceased person's assets. The specific steps and requirements can vary based on jurisdiction and local laws. It's advisable to consult legal professionals to navigate the process correctly.

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