When there is no will, an administrator, administratrix or personal representative is appointed by the court. Any close relative may be appointed.

For an individual or a bank to be appointed the administrator or personal representative, all other heirs must renounce their right. A surety bond must be furnished by paying a premium to a surety company for signing his or her bond. In the case of the spouse, the need for a surety bond is waived if the surviving spouse is the sole inheritor of the estate not exceeding $50,000.00. If the estate is over $50,000.00 a bond must be provided for the amount over $50,000.00.

The county surrogate grants letters of administration showing the authority to act.