Does the Judge Appoint a Personal Representative?
If the decedent had a valid will, the judge will appoint the person or institution named by the decedent in his or her will to serve as a personal representative, as long as the named person or company is legally qualified to serve.
When the decedent does not have a valid will, the surviving spouse has the first right to be appointed as the personal representative. When the decedent is not married at time of death, or if the decedent’s spouse declines to serve as personal representative, the person selected by a majority in interest of the decedent heirs will have second right to appointment as personal representative. The judge will appoint a personal representative after a hearing is held if the heirs cannot agree.