ADMINISTRATION (Lat. administrare, to serve), the performance or management of affairs, a term specifically used in law for the administration or disposal of the estate of a deceased person (see WILL OR TESTAMENT.) It is also used generally for "government," and specifically for "the government" or the executive ministry, and in such connexions as the administration (administering or tendering) of the sacraments, justice, oaths, medicines, etc.
Letters of administration.-Upon the death of a person intestate or leaving a will to which no executors are appointed, or when the executors appointed by the will cannot or will not act, the Probate Division of the High Court is obliged to appoint an administrator who performs the duties of an executor. This is done by the court granting letters of administration to the person entitled. Grants of administration may be either general or limited. A general grant is made where the deceased has died intestate. The order in which general grants of letters will be made by the court is as follows: (1) The husband, or widow, as the case may be; (2) the next of kin; (3) the crown; (4) a creditor; (5) a stranger. Since the Land Transfer Act 1897, the administrator is the real as well as the personal representative of the deceased, and consequently when the estate to be administered consists wholly or mainly of reality the court will grant administration to the heir to the exclusion of the next of kin. In the absence of any heir or next of kin the crown is entitled to the personality as bona vacantia, and to the reality by escheat. If a creditor claims and obtains a grant he is compelled by the court to enter into a bond with two sureties that he will not prefer his own debt to those of other creditors. The more important cases of grants of special letters of administration are the following:-
Administration cum testamento annexo, where the deceased has left a will but has appointed no executor to it, or the executor appointed has died or refuses to act. In this case the court will make the grant to the person (usually the residuary legatee) with the largest beneficial interest in the estate.
Administration de bonis non administratis: this occurs in two cases-(a) where the executor dies intestate after probate without having completely administered the estate; (b) where an administrator dies. In the first case the principle of administration cum testamento is followed, in the second that of general grants in the selection of the person to whom letters are granted.
Administration durante minore aetate, when the executor or the person entitled to the general grant is under age.
Administration durante absentia, when the executor or administrator is out of the jurisdiction for more than a year.
Administration pendente lite, where there is a dispute as to the person entitled to probate or a general grant of letters the court appoints an administrator till the question has been decided.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)