When a person passes away, someone has to step up and take care of everything that the person left behind. The person who died is called the “decedent.” The person who steps up is called the personal representative. Everything that is left behind is called the estate.
The personal representative might be an executor who is nominated in the decedent’s will, or they might be an administrator who is allowed to apply under the statutes.
The person who wants to step up as the personal representative completes the application in the local County Surrogate’s office. If everything is in order, the representative will take an oath and be sworn in and designated to act on behalf of the decedent.