When a Loved One Dies Without a Will

Permanent Administration

This procedure requires notice to all heirs. A surviving spouse or sole heir is entitled to serve as administrator; otherwise, the administrator may be selected by a majority of the heirs, subject to the approval of the court. The court decides whom to appoint in the absence of a surviving spouse or sole heir, according to the best interests of the estate. Administrators must post bond and file inventories and returns, unless all heirs at law consent to a waiver of those requirements. If all heirs consent, the administrator may be given additional powers and authority. Natural guardians of minor heirs, legal guardians of minors or incapacitated adult heirs, and guardians ad litem, may acknowledge service, consent to selection, and consent to waive requirements, unless the guardian is the petitioner or other person seeking to be appointed.

No Administration Necessary

If all debts of the deceased have been paid (or if all creditors consent) and there is no other need for formal administration, and the heirs have all agreed on how the estate will be divided, this proceeding may be filed. All heirs, or guardians acting on their behalf, must sign an agreement disposing of the estate. All creditors, if any, must consent (or not object) to the entry of the Order Declaring No Administration Necessary.

Temporary Administration

Notice to all heirs at law is not required, but all heirs at law must be named on the petition. A majority of the heirs may select the temporary administrator, subject to approval by the court, according to the best interest of the estate. A person named as executor in the unprobated will of the deceased is to be given preference in the court's appointment. Powers are limited to collecting and preserving the assets of the deceased. No expenditures or disbursements may be made without a special court order. Temporary administrators must post bond and file inventories and returns. When selection is required, natural guardians of minor heirs and legal guardians of incapacitated adult heirs may consent to selection unless the guardian is the petitioner or other person seeking to be appointed.