Estate administrators are crucial in probate processes since they are responsible for managing a deceased person’s estate. This responsibility includes tasks such as inventorying assets, paying outstanding debts and taxes and distributing the remaining assets to the heirs and beneficiaries.
Hence, it is important that estate owners choose a competent person to handle their estates after they pass away. However, there are instances when it is the courts that assign the administrator instead of the estate owner.
When there is no will
A common situation that prompts courts to appoint an estate administrator is when a person dies without a valid will in place, a situation known as dying “intestate.” During probate, courts review the decedent’s will to find out their wishes and preferences when it comes to administering their estate. However, if the decedent did not leave a will, the court itself has to appoint an administrator to get the process going.
When there is a will but no named executor
There are also instances when the decedent has a will but failed to name an executor. In these situations, the court steps in and appoints a competent estate administrator on the decedent’s behalf.
When the person appointed cannot fulfill the duties
In some cases, courts appoint an estate administrator even if there is a will if the named executor cannot fulfill their duties because they died, becomes incapacitated or simply declines the responsibility. The court can also appoint a new administrator if the previous one is unqualified or breaches their duties, harming the estate and its beneficiaries.
Ultimately, the court’s primary consideration in appointing an estate administrator is to find someone who is responsible and capable of carrying out the duties faithfully and in the best interests of the estate’s beneficiaries.