Who Has Authority to Probate a Will?
So for example, if you are a beneficiary named in a Will, or even a creditor of the estate who will not be paid until the estate is probated, you may have standing to file the application to probate the Will.
However, simply filing for probate does not mean you will be named as Executor or Administrator of the estate. Rather, the Court will appoint the person named as Executor in the Will. If that person is unable or unwilling to serve as Executor, the Court will appoint someone in the following order of priority:
- The surviving spouse
- The principal beneficiary of the estate
- Any beneficiary of the estate
- The next of kin of the deceased, the nearest in order of descent first, and so on
- A creditor of the deceased
- Any person of good character residing in the county who applies; and
- Any other person not disqualified to serve as the personal representative of the Estate
When more than one person is equally entitled to serve as executor, the Court can appoint the person who it believes is most likely to administer the estate advantageously, or may appoint more than one person to serve as Co-Executors of an estate.