When there is no will established by a person, a personal representative or administrator will be appointed by the surrogate’s court. The first right to apply for the position of administrator is given to the surviving spouse but any heir of the decedent could be appointed.
When one of multiple heirs wants to be appointed an administrator, all other heirs have to renounce their right to the appointed administrator. Usually a surety bond is required in order to cover the cost of real and personal property in the estate.
In order to apply for an administration, you will need a list of estate debts, a death certificate with a seal and estimate of the gross value of the estate, the names, and addresses of next of kin, and a blank check or cash for fees which vary with each estate. The first steps that are usually taken to handle the administration process include:
- Locating the decedent’s will
- Contacting social security
- Securing all estate assets
- Getting one or more original death certificates
- Beginning a checklist of estate assets such as stocks, credit unions, and bank accounts
- Keeping a list of medical expenses, utility bills, and charge accounts
- Investigating veterans’ benefits, if applicable.
- Arrange for the forwarding or pickup of mail
Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you to name a personal representative or administrator today such that your family members are not left with a difficult decision of determining whether or not they will serve in this role.