Potential Personal Representative: Executor vs. Administrator
Those who act on behalf of a probate estate are all technically called a Personal Representative. There are two major types of Personal Representatives:
(1) An executor handles the estate of an individual who dies with a will naming an executor. That individual "executes" the terms of the will, as authorized by the court order.
(2) An administrator handles the estate of an individual who dies without a will. That individual administers the estate, as authorized by court order.
The person or persons with the closest ties to the deceased individual will have the highest priority in becoming the personal representative, if they are not named executor by a will, as specified in the California Probate Code.
Be aware that even though they should know better, banks and other government entities will loosely call all personal representatives "executor," even when they should also refer to "administrator".
Can the court appoint more than one personal representative? Yes.
Can the personal representative live out of the area, and even out of state? Yes. And Yes. I have worked with countless out-of-state executors and administrators.
Is the personal representative entitled to payment for their services? Yes, unless the will specifies otherwise or they decline to accept compensation.
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