Letters can be more easily understood as being the estate representative’s “proof of authority” as the estate representative in a probate proceeding. Letters Testamentary are issued to the estate representative when the decedent had a will. Letters of Administration are issued when the decedent did not have a will. Letters are issued by the Court clerk and are sort of like the representative’s “Driver’s License” in a probate proceeding. Letters can be presented to banks and other entities that demand court proof that the person has been granted court authority to act on behalf of the decedent and their estate.
Letters are issued to the estate representative after the first hearing. It is the responsibility of the estate representative to go to the Court Clerk’s office after the Order for Probate has been signed by the Judge and filed to get several certified copies of the Letters. The representative will be required to provide a certified copy of the Letters to banks and other entities to substantiate their authority as estate representative and administrator.