Who is appointed executor of an estate where there are three grown children and no will?

Personal Finance August 06, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

When someone dies without a will, they are said to have died "intestate." Once all of a deceased person's debts have been repaid, state law will determine how any remaining assets will be distributed to heirs. A local court official, called a "surrogate" in many states, will appoint an estate administrator to handle settlement of a deceased person's estate.

This is often done in consultation with family members. You can only have an executor when there is a valid will. Administrators generally need to be bonded while they are managing the financial affairs of the deceased, which is an additional expense for the estate.

We would like your feedback on this Personal Finance Frequently Asked Question.