Who should administer your California probate? If you don’t have a named Executor in your will then it falls to the California probate code and generally then to the order of preference laid out in probate code section 8461. I have pasted that section, in it’s entirety, below. Notice “any other person” is at the end of the list so this means ANYBODY can file for probate! Also, notice priority can be lowered by appointment of others, separation from spouse, etc…. Know these rules BEFORE you file your probate petition when there is no named Executor. Contact me to discuss your case. -John
PROBATE CODE SECTION 8460-8469
8460. (a) If the decedent dies intestate, the court shall appoint
an administrator as personal representative.
(b) The court may appoint one or more persons as administrator.
8461. Subject to the provisions of this article, a person in the
following relation to the decedent is entitled to appointment as
administrator in the following order of priority:
(a) Surviving spouse or domestic partner as defined in Section 37.
(d) Other issue.
(f) Brothers and sisters.
(g) Issue of brothers and sisters.
(i) Issue of grandparents.
(j) Children of a predeceased spouse or domestic partner.
(k) Other issue of a predeceased spouse or domestic partner.
(l) Other next of kin.
(m) Parents of a predeceased spouse or domestic partner.
(n) Issue of parents of a predeceased spouse or domestic partner.
(o) Conservator or guardian of the estate acting in that capacity
at the time of death who has filed a first account and is not acting
as conservator or guardian for any other person.
(p) Public administrator.
(r) Any other person.
8462. The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the decedent, a
relative of the decedent, or a relative of a predeceased spouse or
domestic partner of the decedent, has priority under Section 8461
only if one of the following conditions is satisfied:
(a) The surviving spouse, domestic partner, or relative is
entitled to succeed to all or part of the estate.
(b) The surviving spouse, domestic partner, or relative either
takes under the will of, or is entitled to succeed to all or part of
the estate of, another deceased person who is entitled to succeed to
all or part of the estate of the decedent.
8463. If the surviving spouse is a party to an action for separate
maintenance, annulment, or dissolution of the marriage of the
decedent and the surviving spouse, and was living apart from the
decedent on the date of the decedent’s death, the surviving spouse
has priority next after brothers and sisters and not the priority
prescribed in Section 8461.
8464. If a person otherwise entitled to appointment as
administrator is a person under the age of majority or a person for
whom a guardian or conservator of the estate has been appointed, the
court in its discretion may appoint the guardian or conservator or
another person entitled to appointment.
8465. (a) The court may appoint as administrator a person nominated
by a person otherwise entitled to appointment or by the guardian or
conservator of the estate of a person otherwise entitled to
appointment. The nomination shall be made in writing and filed with
(b) If a person making a nomination for appointment of an
administrator is the surviving spouse or domestic partner, child,
grandchild, other issue, parent, brother or sister, or grandparent of
the decedent, the nominee has priority next after those in the class
of the person making the nomination.
(c) If a person making a nomination for appointment of an
administrator is other than a person described in subdivision (b),
the court in its discretion may appoint either the nominee or a
person of a class lower in priority to that of the person making the
nomination, but other persons of the class of the person making the
nomination have priority over the nominee.
8466. If a person whose only priority is that of a creditor claims
appointment as administrator, the court in its discretion may deny
the appointment and appoint another person.
8467. If several persons have equal priority for appointment as
administrator, the court may appoint one or more of them, or if such
persons are unable to agree, the court may appoint the public
administrator or a disinterested person in the same or the next lower
class of priority as the persons who are unable to agree.
8468. If persons having priority fail to claim appointment as
administrator, the court may appoint any person who claims
8469. (a) For good cause, the court may allow the priority given by
Section 8461 to a conservator or guardian of the estate of the
decedent serving in that capacity at the time of death that has not
filed a first account, or that is acting as guardian or conservator
for another person, or both.
(b) If the petition for appointment as administrator requests the
court to allow the priority permitted by subdivision (a), the
petitioner shall, in addition to the notice otherwise required by
statute, serve notice of the hearing by mail or personal delivery on
the public administrator.