Q: My aunt has recently died and named an executor in her will. Are they automatically made administrators by the Court?
A: Virginia still uses the old, pre-UPC terms for fiduciaries, so the terms are executor/executrix, administrator/administratrix, and administrator/administratrix c.t.a. Often, the UPC term
personal representative is used to include all of those terms. A Executor administers a will in a testate estate. An Administrator administers an intestate estate (where there is no will). An Administrator c.t.a. administers a testate estate where the designated executor is unavailable or unwilling to serve. So, if your aunt left a will naming an executor, that person needs to file a probate information form to open the probate. If the executor does not wish to serve, someone else in the family can seek to be appointed administrator c.t.a. It does not happen automatically, and they aren't made administrators.
A: A named executor in a will has limited statutory powers under Virginia Code Section 64.2-511 prior to qualification. A named executor is not required to become the acting, qualified, appointed executor. The process is not automatic. In order to become appointed, the executor or administrator must qualify before the clerk of the Circuit Court, make an oath, file some documents including an initial inventory, pay some fees, and possibly post a bond, unless waived in the will.
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