letters of administration.A formal document issued by a probate court to appoint the administrator of an estate. • Letters of administration originated in the Probate of Testaments Act of 1357 (31 Edw. 3, ch. 4), which provided that in case of intestacy the ordinary (a high-ranking ecclesiastical official within a territory) should depute the decedent’s closest friends to administer the estate; a later statute, the Executors Act of 1529 (21 Hen. 8, ch. 4), authorized the ordinary to grant administration to the surviving spouse, to next of kin, or to both of them jointly. — Also termed administration letters. See ADMINISTRATION. Cf. LETTERS TESTAMENTARY.

[Cases: Executors and Administrators  27.C.J.S. Executors and Administrators § 79.]

letters of administration c.t.a. Letters of administration appointing an administrator cum testamento annexo (with the will annexed) either because the will does not name an executor or because the named executor does not qualify. See administration cum testamento annexo under ADMINISTRATION.

letters of administration d.b.n. Letters of administration appointing an administrator de bonis non (concerning goods not yet administered) because the named executor failed to complete the estate’s probate. See administration de bonis non under ADMINISTRATION.

 [Blacks Law 8th]