A personal representative may be formally appointed by a Probate Judge after a petition is filed in the Probate Court. The petition can be filed by an interested person to the decedent’s estate. When the petition is filed, unless waivers and consents from all interested persons are attached, a hearing will be held. The person who files the petition has the responsibility to properly notify the persons who have a right to know about the hearing. On the date of the hearing, the petitioner and anyone else who wants to take part goes before the Judge and explains the need for a personal representative.
A personal representative may be appointed informally by filing an application directed to the Probate Register. An applicant seeking appointment in an informal proceeding must give notice and a copy of the application to each person having a prior or equal right to appointment who has not waived the right. Such a waiver may be accomplished by filing a Waiver and Consent. A proof of service must also be filed with the Court.
The person appointed personal representative is required to file an Acceptance of Appointment and possibly a Bond to protect the estate’s assets. After filing the Acceptance of Appointment and Bond (if ordered), Letters of Authority will be issued to the personal representative. The Letters of Authority give the personal representative the right to perform the following duties, unless the Court restricts their authority.