What are Letters of Administration?
In Florida, "letters of administration" is a legal document issued by the court to appoint a personal representative to administer the estate of a decedent (the person who has died). A personal representative is responsible for managing the administration of the estate, including gathering the decedent's assets, paying any outstanding debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or state law.
Letters of Administration give authority to act on behalf of an estate.
Letters of administration allow cancellation of utilities, receive copies of creditor statements, filing of tax returns, communication with financial institutions (ex. banks or lenders), collection and distribution of life insurance policies, transfer of ownership to real property, opening of bank accounts for an estate, and signing documents, among other powers.
Letters of administration are issued in a formal administration, when a decedent died without a will, or when the will is invalid or does not name a personal representative. In these cases, the court will appoint a personal representative to administer the estate through a formal administration of probate.
To obtain letters of administration, the person seeking to be appointed as personal representative must file a petition with the court and provide certain information, such as the decedent's name, date of death, and a list of the decedent's assets and debts. The court will review the petition and, if it is granted, will issue letters of administration appointing the personal representative to administer the estate.
It is important to note that the personal representative has a legal duty to act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries and must follow all relevant laws and procedures when administering the estate.
Should you have questions about obtaining letters of administration, contact an estate planning or probate attorney for guidance in the formal administration process.