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Who has priority when choosing the estate administrator?

On Behalf of | May 31, 2023 | Probates & Trusts

Finalizing probate matters after a family member’s death could be overwhelming. In addition to going through the necessary procedures, the family must deal with the grief and stress caused by the tragic loss. Still, the probate process is essential when dealing with the deceased’s estate, especially if they did not have a will.

The court must appoint an administrator when an estate undergoes probate. This individual is responsible for representing the estate throughout the subsequent steps in the process. Sometimes, this role goes to the nearest kin of the deceased, who is usually the surviving spouse. However, that is not always possible when the deceased has no spouse or other family members who object to their appointment.

Fortunately, the law has guidelines for these situations when specific factors could affect the process. Local policies could vary, but in Nevada, the law has an order of priority based on how the surviving family member is related to the deceased:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandchildren
  • Other relatives who rightfully have a share in the estate’s distribution

Parties unrelated to the deceased could also be the estate administrator. Depending on the circumstances, the relevant government agency could also appoint a public guardian for the role. Still, the court’s and the beneficiaries’ opinions could impact the appointment based on what the law allows.

Other qualities of an estate administrator

An estate administrator has vital responsibilities toward the court and the beneficiaries. Additionally, this role has specific qualifications involving age, criminal history and other factors that could cause a conflict of interest.

The person for this role should be transparent, honest and be able to communicate effectively. They must also meet strict deadlines, requiring organizational skills and accountability. By choosing the right person, the deceased’s family could rest assured that the estate is safe during the probate process.