Letters of Administration
Grant of Letters of Administration (LA)
When an individual passes away without leaving a will (known as Intestate), his or her close relative has to apply for a grant of Letters of Administration. Once it is granted, the applicant becomes the estate’s administrator, giving him or her the authority to manage and distribute the estate of the deceased.
Problems arise when family members have disputes as they try to select the best person to manage the estate. When this happens, the Court will have to intervene, which incurs more costs and time spent.
Thus, it is better to make a Will to avoid such an issue.
Grant of Letters of Administration with Will annexed
In circumstances where there is a valid Will and named Executor, but the named person cannot or has not applied for a Grant of Probate, Letters of Administration are required. Some of the reasons include the executor is incapacitated or passed away and the executor does not wish to be involved due to family conflict.
In such cases, one of the main beneficiaries of the Will has to apply for Letters of Administration in the High Court to replace the named Executor. This is considered as Grant of Letters of Administration with Will annexed since the Will’s content and the instructions on the distribution of estate are still valid.
This can be avoided by naming a substitute Executor when writing the Will.
Alternatively, if the deceased estate only has movable properties less than RM600,000, the interested person may apply for Summary Administration through Amanah Raya Berhad. Once this option is chosen, no one is entitled to petition for grant of Letter of Administration.
Letters of Administration De Bonis Non
In any circumstances where the Executor or Administrator mentioned in the extracted Probate or Letter of Administration passed away, incapacitated or absconded before finalizing the administration of the estate, the next individual entitled to the grant of representation can apply for Letter of Administration De Bonis Non from the High Court.
If the Court of Probate in any part of the Commonwealth, e.g. Singapore or UK granted a Letter of Administration or a Probate, the High Court of Malaya can reseal them, allowing them to have similar force, effect and execution in Malaysia.
What is the process of application for a Letter of Administration?
The first of the 3 methods for application of Letter of Administration in Malaysia is through the High Court, by presenting these documents:
√ the particulars of the applicant
√ death certificate
√ the list of beneficiaries
√ list of liabilities and assets of the deceased
√ the existence of minor interest (if any)
The application of LA usually takes approximately 6 months to more than 2 years. However, if the estate is valued at more than RM500,000, two sureties must be provided by the applicant.
The criteria of the sureties include being a resident and having estates with approximately equal value as the testator’s.
The administrator may transfer all assets from the estate to own name, and then distribute accordingly once he or she receives the LA.
The second method is to apply to the government-owned public trustee known as Amanah Raya Bhd for estates valued less than RM600,000. For estates with moveable property, such as cars and cash, the LA could take 4 to 6 months to be granted. Conversely, estates with immovable assets like property require 1 year for approval. The fee for the application is dependent on the estate’s value.
The third method is only applicable to estates with immovable assets, e.g. property.
Applications can be made under the Small Estates (Distribution) Act, 1955 for estates not exceeding RM2 million. This option is less expensive since it does not require lawyers.
The Land Office will not charge any fee for filing this petition. Applicants should complete Form A of the Small Estate application to start the application process.
A hearing is held to identify the estate administration once an application is made, which normally be completed within 3 months. The court will issue a LA and order for estate distribution once it verified that all details are accurate.