Letters testamentary and letters of administration are both legal documents that grant authority to manage the affairs of a deceased person. However, there are key differences between the two.
Letters testamentary are issued by a probate court to the executor named in a valid will. They give the executor the legal authority to manage the affairs of the deceased person’s estate, including collecting assets, paying debts, and distributing property to beneficiaries according to the terms of the will. The executor is responsible for ensuring that the estate is managed properly and that the beneficiaries receive their rightful inheritance.
Letters of Administration:
Letters of administration are issued by a probate court when a person dies without a valid will, or if the will does not name an executor. In this case, the court will appoint an administrator to manage the estate. The administrator is usually a close family member, but if there is no one suitable or available, the court may appoint a neutral third party, such as an attorney, to act as the administrator.
The duties of the administrator are similar to those of an executor, but there are some key differences. For example, when there is no will to guide the distribution of assets, the administrator must then follow the intestacy laws of the state where the deceased person lived. These laws dictate how assets are to be distributed among surviving family members. The administrator is also responsible for identifying and notifying potential heirs and creditors, and for resolving any disputes that may arise during the probate process.
In conclusion, letters testamentary are issued when there is a valid will and name an executor to manage the estate, while letters of administration are issued when there is no will or no executor named in the will. The duties of the executor and administrator are similar, but the administrator must follow state intestacy laws in absence of a will and may have additional responsibilities, such as identifying and notifying potential heirs. If you are unsure about which type of letter you may need or have questions about the probate process, it is recommended to consult with an experienced probate attorney for guidance.
We have helped hundreds of people go through probate, with and without a will; we can help you too! Call our office at 832.408.0505 and book your Legal Strategy Session today! Our office is located at 1100 East NASA Pkwy, Ste. 420J, Houston, TX 77058.