2016 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 45 - Uniform Probate Code
Article 3 - Probate of Wills and Administration
Section 45-3-203 - Priority among persons seeking appointment as personal representative.

NM Stat § 45-3-203 (2016) What's This?

45-3-203. Priority among persons seeking appointment as personal representative.

A. Whether the proceedings are formal or informal, persons who are not disqualified have priority for appointment in the following order:

(1) the person with priority as determined by a probated will, including a person nominated by a power conferred in a will;

(2) the surviving spouse of the decedent who is a devisee of the decedent;

(3) other devisees of the decedent;

(4) the surviving spouse of the decedent;

(5) other heirs of the decedent; and

(6) on application or petition of an interested person other than a spouse, devisee or heir, any qualified person.

B. An objection to an appointment may be made only in formal proceedings. In case of objection, the priorities stated in Subsection A of this section apply except that:

(1) if the estate appears to be more than adequate to meet allowances and costs of administration but inadequate to discharge anticipated unsecured claims, the court, on petition of creditors, may appoint any qualified person; and

(2) in case of objection to appointment of a person other than one whose priority is determined by will by an heir or devisee appearing to have a substantial interest in the estate, the court may appoint a person who is acceptable to heirs and devisees whose interests in the estate appear to be worth in total more than half of the probable distributable value of the estate or, in default of this accord, any suitable person.

C. A person entitled to letters under Paragraphs (2) through (5) of Subsection A of this section or a person who has not reached the age of majority and who might be entitled to letters but for the person's age may nominate a qualified person to act as personal representative by an appropriate writing filed with the court and thereby confer the person's relative priority for appointment on the person's nominee. Any person who has reached the age of majority may renounce the right to nominate or to an appointment by an appropriate writing filed with the court. When two or more persons entitled to letters under Paragraphs (2) through (5) of Subsection A of this section share a priority, all those who do not renounce shall concur in nominating another to act for them or in applying for appointment by an appropriate writing filed with the court. The person so nominated shall have the same priority as those who nominated the person. A nomination or renunciation shall be signed by each person making it, the person's attorney or the person's representative authorized by Subsection D of this section.

D. Conservators of the estates of protected persons or, if there is no conservator, any guardian except a guardian ad litem of a minor or incapacitated person may exercise the same right to nominate, to object to another's appointment or to participate in determining the preference of a majority in interest of the heirs and devisees that the protected person would have if qualified for appointment.

E. Appointment of one who does not have highest priority, including highest priority resulting from renunciation or nomination determined pursuant to this section, may be made only in formal proceedings. Before appointing one without highest priority, the court shall determine that those having highest priority, although given notice of the proceedings, have failed to request appointment or to nominate another for appointment and that administration is necessary.

F. No person is qualified to serve as a personal representative who is:

(1) under the age of majority;

(2) a person whom the court finds unsuitable in formal proceedings; or

(3) a creditor of the decedent unless the appointment is to be made after forty-five days have elapsed from the death of the decedent.

G. A personal representative appointed by a court of the decedent's domicile has priority over all other persons except where the decedent's will nominates different persons to be personal representatives in New Mexico and in the state of domicile. The domiciliary personal representative may nominate another, who shall have the same priority as the domiciliary personal representative.

H. This section governs priority for appointment of a successor personal representative but does not apply to the selection of a special administrator.

History: 1953 Comp., 32A-3-203, enacted by Laws 1975, ch. 257, 3-203; 2009, ch. 159, 25; 2011, ch. 124, 44.

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