Often, the journey into a Probate proceeding begins with an effort to obtain something which is called “Letters.” It is proof of one’s authority to act. The document is sometimes referred to as “L . . . Testamentary (or L . . . Probate, or L . . . of Administration)” or something similar. To obtain the document, which is the Court document establishing that the Personal Representative has been appointed and has authority to act, a probate proceeding must be initiated and a personal representative must be appointed. –
In Arizona, the document is issued by the Probate Court to the Personal Representative (executor) of the Estate. The document is the court document by which the Personal Representative obtains legal authority to act on behalf of the Estate. Many banks will require the official court document before allowing an executor to access a decedent’s accounts.
L . . . of Administration are not freely granted. A person has to prove entitlement to serve as Personal Representative before the Court issues the necessary document. Sometimes, a Will must be admitted to probate before the document will issue. Unless the bond is waived in a Last Will & Testament, a bond must be provided before the document is issued.
More is required before a Personal Representative is appointed. An application for probate must be prepared and filed. Sometimes, certain waivers are necessary. In short, to obtain the necessary document, a probate proceeding must be properly initiated and conducted.
If a bank, title company or other organization informs you that you must give them the “Letters” before they will give you what you want, you are being asked to provide legal proof of authorization to act on behalf of another – one who has died. Often, the request for this document is a sign or signal that a Probate proceeding must be commenced and that you should consult an experienced Probate lawyer.