While a good will typically names the person the testator wants to perform the role of executor of the estate, situations do happen so that there is no one to take care of these duties. For example, we have seen it happen that a will names a spouse, but both spouses die in a car accident. Or, the person named sometimes tells the court that he or she cannot take care of matters, after all. 

At this point, you may feel that you are the best person to step in and fulfill the tasks for the testator. But how do you become the administrator of the estate? 

According to FindLaw, the process all takes place in the county where the deceased resided, so you will need to contact the appropriate probate court to begin. 

Before you file your petition to become the administrator, you must find out whether you have priority for appointment. The court authorizes someone based on succession laws, so family members are first in consideration. However, if there is no family member closer than you, or if priority family members submit written waivers to give up their claim to the role, a judge may authorize you. 

You may acquire the forms with instructions and the other documents required at the county’s court clerk office. You will not be able to receive any legal advice from those who work at that office; only an attorney can provide you with legal advice. After you file the petition, you will attend the hearing and secure a probate bond, and then you can begin the probate process. 

For information about the duties of the executor or administrator of an estate, please visit our webpage.