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Letters of Administration

INTRODUCTION

When a person dies intestate i.e. without leaving a Will or any testamentary document, in such cases, through the issuance of Letters of Administration (LOA), an administrator is appointed by the Court to administer the estate of the deceased person.

If the estate involves only movable assets then generally Succession Certificate is applied for, but if the estate comprises of both immovable and movable assets or only immovable assets then Letters of Administration is required from the court in order to administer the estate of the deceased. Even to operate locker/s of the deceased maintained with banks, LOA is required.

  • Procedure for grant of LOA is governed by the provisions of the Indian Succession Act.

SITUATIONS IN WHICH LOA IS GRANTED:

An application for grant of LOA can be made under following circumstances:

    • When there is no Will;
    • Renunciation or failure on part of the executor of the Will of the deceased to accept the executorship within the time prescribed for such acceptance;
    • Non-appointment of the executor in the Will by the deceased;
    • Legal incapacity or refusal to act by the appointed executor;
    • Death of the executor before the administration of the state

PERSONS WHO CAN BE APPOINTED AS THE ADMINISTRATOR:

If the deceased is a Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina or an exempted person, administration of his estate may be granted to any person according to the:

      • applicable rules for the distribution of the estate;
      • Discretion of the Court if multiple people apply;
      • To the creditor of deceased if no person applies

Where deceased is not any of the above, administration may be granted to those who are connected either by marriage or consanguinity in the following order:

      • Widow, unless excluded either on personal disqualification like lunacy, adultery or because she has no interest, husband to be appointed in case of death of wife.
      • If there is no widow, it shall be given to someone who would be beneficially entitled to the estate according to the rules for the distribution, if mother is one of such persons, she shall be solely entitled to administration.
      • Those who stand in equal degree of kindred to the deceased are equally entitled to administration.
      • Creditor if no person connected with the deceased by marriage or consanguinity is entitled or willing to act
      • It cannot be granted to any person who is a minor or is of unsound mind.

RIGHTS OF THE ADMINISTRATOR

      • Letters of administration entitle the administrator to all rights belonging to the intestate as effectually as if the administration had been granted at the moment after his death.
      • Administrator is the legal representative for all purposes and all the property of the deceased person is vested in him.
      • No other than the person to whom the same may have been granted shall have power to sue or prosecute any suit, or otherwise act as representative of the deceased.
      • No act by the administrator tending to the diminution or damage of the intestate's estate shall be validated.

WHERE TO APPLY:

The District Judge, within whose jurisdiction any property, movable or immovable, is situated or the deceased resided, immediately, before his death, shall be having the jurisdiction to try and entertain the Petition.

PROCEDURE FOR GRANT OF LOA:

      • The Applicant has to approach the concerned District Judge and file a petition seeking grant of LOA.
      • The petition has to be rightly drafted mentioning all the requirements as per the law like details of death of the deceased, details of other surviving legal heirs and beneficiaries, the right in which the applicant claims, description of assets and amounts, etc.
      • Along with the Petition, all the relevant documents have to be annexed like the death certificate, relationship proof, property related documents and other documents that the court may require.
      • After the filing of the petition, the District Judge will examine the Petition and registers it and issue notices to those who may have an interest in the property/s of the deceased and the concerned court also ask for publication of notice for the general public in a daily newspaper calling objections, if any.
      • The Court may require further evidence to establish right of the petitioner to the letters of administration
      • The Court, if satisfied, will pass an order for grant of LOA in favor of the Applicant.

However, where no will of the deceased is forthcoming, but there is reason to believe that there is a will in existence, letters of administration may be granted, limited until the will or an authenticated copy of it is produced.


- As on 1st July 2019