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How Long Does It Take To Get Letters Of Administration?

Sometimes, when someone dies, it is not probate that is required, but instead it is letters of administration that need to be applied for. Whoever applies for this is called the administrator, and not the executor. If there is no will, if there is a will but it is not valid, if there are no executors named in the will, or if there are executors named but they are unable to or do not wish to take on the role, then an administrator will need to be appointed, and letters of administration applied for. 

Not just anyone can take up the mantle of administrator of an estate. Just like with the intestacy rules, there is a set order of priority for who can take on the task of applying for letters of administration. The first person to be considered will be the spouse or civil partner of the deceased (an unmarried partner will usually not be able to act as administrator). After that, in order, will be the children of the deceased (in age order), grandchildren, parents, siblings, nephews and nieces, and other relatives.

Once the letters of administration have been applied for, it should take between three and five weeks to receive the grant and then be able to execute the will (assuming there is one). However, it can take longer is the estate is more complicated, if there is inheritance tax to pay, or if there are any errors on the forms.