Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. I cannot give legal advice. The story below and other articles on this blog regarding probate are strictly my experiences. If you have a legal matter regarding probate please contact a probate attorney.
The ability, or authority, to take action on a will during probate can only happen once Letters of Administration or Testamentary are issued. These letters (really a certificate), issued by the probate (surrogate) court inform businesses, and financial institutions, that you have the fiduciary responsibility to execute a will. Without these letters you won’t be able to access any financial accounts, forward mail, pay bills from the estate, continue business operations, etc. Basically, you can’t touch anything, or do anything, until you get these letters. Also, they are only issued to the executor or administrator. Even then, it is only the executor or administrator that can handle anything associated with an estate.
As it happens, probate does not always go smoothly, even though the deceased has a will. For example, the will could be contested, it could take a long time to get all the waivers to probate in from next of kin, or the executor could renounce and another person must petition to be administrator.
[Read more…] about Probate: Tasks You Can Do with Temporary Letters of Administration