Making a will
Administrators are appointed by the court
When will the court appoint an administrator?
The court will appoint an administrator if you die without a will, or if you have a will but don’t have an executor – for example, if:
- the executor dies before you (see: “What happens if my executor dies before me?”), or
- your will doesn’t name an executor, or
- the executor named in the will refuses or is unable to act.
What does an administrator do?
An administrator carries out the same functions and has all the same duties as an executor (see: “What does an executor do?”).
If there’s a will but no executor, the administrator will distribute the estate according to the will.
If there isn’t a will, the administrator will distribute the estate according to the laws of intestacy (see: “Dealing with the deceased’s property: Wills, “intestacy,” and small estates”).
Who should be the administrator?
Usually a family member applies to be the administrator.
The person who applies to be the administrator must give the court evidence that everyone who is equally close to the deceased person has either agreed to or been told about their application.
The court will almost always appoint the deceased person’s next of kin as the administrator (unless they don’t want the job).
If more than one person applies, the court will usually appoint the administrator according to the following order:
- the surviving spouse or de facto partner, then
- the children of the deceased, then
- the parents of the deceased, then
- brothers and sisters of the deceased, then
- grandparents, then
- uncles and aunts.