You’ve got the original Last Will and Testament and it declares you as the Personal Representative (or Executor, Administrator).
You were the “chosen one”, right?
It says that so it must be so! Right?
When a person drafts a Will, they are nominating someone to act as Personal Representative (PR), Executor or Administrator of the estate.
Until a probate judge officially admits the Will to probate and subsequently appoints you as the personal representative, you have ZERO authority to act on behalf of the estate.
When someone starts asking you for items such as “Letters of Administration” or “Letters Testamentary”, they are asking for proof that the person who claims to be the PR, actually has authority and proof.
On the other hand, there are many times that a PR doesn’t even need to be appointed – summary administration for example!
Oh and one other thing. Convicted felons need not apply. Even if you are nominated in the Will, you are ineligible to act as PR.
(1) A person is not qualified to act as a personal representative if the person:
(a) Has been convicted of a felony.
(b) Is mentally or physically unable to perform the duties.
(c) Is under the age of 18 years.
(2) If the person named as personal representative in the will is not qualified, letters shall be granted as provided in s. 733.301.