An administrator of an estate is the person appointed by the court to handle all aspects of the estate. Be advised, the title of ‘administrator’ is also called ‘executor’ when named in a Will. When there is a Will, it is typically probated once it is admitted by the court and not contested. The administrator or executor can do several tasks. Specifically, he/she has the authority to marshal assets as well as open estate bank accounts. In addition, he/she also works closely with the attorney who is hired to complete the Probate process.

The first step in a Probate is to petition the court to be appointed as administrator/executor. All heirs and beneficiaries will be notified by publication in a legal newspaper.

A hearing will be set by the court to appoint the administrator (or executor). Opposition petitions may be filed preventing the appointment of the person who petitioned the court.

There are a number of factors that determine the choice of administrator. Based on Probate Code 8461 certain people have priority to be administrator. Here is a partial list in order of priority:

  • surviving spouse
  • children
  • grandchildren
  • other issue
  • parents
  • brothers and sisters etc.

Most often the surviving spouse and/or children take over the task of administration. However, if there is no spouse or children, the parents or sibling(s) may become administrators. The attorney will advise based on the particular situation.

The administrator or executor is entitled to receive a fee based on state law. This fee is a statutory fee which is a percentage of the value of the estate. The administrator or executor can decline to take the fee or a part thereof.

For a thorough discussion of your estate needs, call Legal Action Workshop. We’re the law firm that has been practicing Probate administration for over 35 years! Call us @ 1-800-HELP-444.

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