Where someone has died without a valid Will, they are said to have died 'intestate'.

In these cases, the person's estate will be distributed in line with the Administration and Probate Act 1919.

As the person's family, you have the right to choose who you would like to administer the estate (within the limits of the law).

There are a few options.

Public Trustee as administrator

You can choose the Public Trustee to act as administrator. We:

  • administer more deceased estates than any other organisation in the state
  • offer convenient start to finish estate administration
  • take on full liability for the estate
  • are impartial experts in dealing with financial complexity
  • handle outstanding debts and estate administration costs.

All beneficiaries who are entitled to a share of the estate will need to agree or consent to our appointment.

If we are appointed administrator, we will work with you to make the process as simple as possible.

Learn more about the Public Trustee as administrator

Doing it yourself

Sometimes if the estate assets are minimal - or the majority of assets are held jointly - you won't need a formal administration.

Our informal administration checklist (PDF, 116.3 KB) can help you identify who you need to contact in this situation.

Where you do need to administer the estate, you will need to make an application to the Supreme Court for Letters of Administration to administer the estate.

See the Supreme Court Probate Registry for more details.

It's important to know that this process can be complex and you might need a solicitor to help you with this application.