Q: In the state of California, if the decedent has 6 surviving children and no will, how is the exe or admi determined?
6 children, no will. Does oldest child automatically become administrator of any estate? If yes and other children wish to contest that appointment, is that possible?
A: There is not a set order among the kids. Yes another child can contest one of their siblings doing it and then that sibling should also file a competing petition for them or another sibling to serve as the administrator. That would create the contest or competing petition situation. The courts look at things like who is best equipped to handle the job, where the respective administrators live, and other such factors. In my opinion it is generally best to try to work out an agreement about who should be the administrator rather than fighting about it. When fighting it can just lead to a bunch of attorney fees being spent. Unfortunately sometimes a friendly agreement can't be reached. Good luck!
A: Being the oldest doesn't help. Someone petitions the Probate Court to be the administrator. If the siblings object then the judge will yell at them to find a solution they can agree on, like even a professional service.
A: When the petition for probate is filed (form DE-111), the petitioner(s) will request a particular person be named as the administrator of the estate (there is no executor since there is no will). It can be, but doesn’t have to be one of the children. The probate code only requires it to be an adult able to fulfill the duties. Realistically, once the children all realize how much time and effort is required, it’s likely not all will want to do it. As my colleague said, the other children can object if they want, and the judge will try to get them to behave like adults and nominate one or hire an independent third party to act as administrator.
A: There is nothing in the law saying which person is automatically assigned the role of Administrator. (That's the title of the role when there is no will. If there is a will, the title is Executor. If there is a trust, the title is Trustee.) Anyone can ask the Court to appoint them as Administrator, but it will be up to the judge to decide who is most qualified to handle the job. I hope that helps!
A: The priority for the appointment of a personal representative is set forth in §§8461-8469 of the California Probate Code. You might find the answer there. Upon receiving a notice of administration, if an interested individual feels that the personal representative who is to be or has been appointed to handle the estate is not qualified for the position, they may petition to have another persona appointed or the appointed personal representative removed and a new representative appointed. The court will decided depending on the merits of each of the interested parties.
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