Definition of Letters of Administration
Letters of administration are legal documents issued by a probate court which allows someone the right to administer the estate of another person who has died. Letters of Administration are required if the deceased did not name an executor for their estate (intestate). Letters of Administration are also used if an executor is unable to perform the duties entrusted them.
Letters of administration are often requested by banks, governmental agencies, or other institutions before they will deal with the assets of the decedent. A letter of administration is a decree by a court or probate registry which assigns someone to take care of the estate and to deal with the assets based on inheritance and laws of descent (which usually favor a living spouse first and is followed by next of kin).