letters of administration

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

The document a probate court issues to the person appointed as administrator (personal representative) of the estate of someone who died without a will. The letters authorize the administrator to settle the deceased person's estate according to the state's intestate succession laws. Banks, brokerages, and government agencies often require a certified copy of the letters before accepting the administrator's authority to collect the deceased person's assets. (See also: letters testamentary)

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.