When do I need to get Letters of Administration?

If you have a loved one die without having made a Will, you may need to consider whether an application to the Court of Queen’s Bench for Letters of Administration is necessary.

Where the deceased did not have a Will and owns real estate, Information Services Corporation (previously Land Titles) requires Letters of Administration before it will transfer ownership of the real property.  Similarly, some financial institutions will require Letters of Administration before releasing money held in the accounts of the deceased.

There are instances where an application for Letters of Administration is not necessary.

If the deceased held all of his or her property  jointly with a spouse, it is unlikely that Letters of Administration will be necessary.  For example, John passed away leaving only his house and his bank accounts.  John’s spouse is a joint owner of the house and the bank accounts with a right of survivorship.  In this example, all of John’s property transfers directly to his spouse and never goes into his estate.

If you are uncertain about whether Letters of Administration are necessary, it is best to consult with a legal advisor to determine the best course of action.