8400. (a) A person has no power to administer the estate until the
person is appointed personal representative and the appointment
becomes effective. Appointment of a personal representative becomes
effective when the person appointed is issued letters.
(b) Subdivision (a) applies whether or not the person is named
executor in the decedent's will, except that a person named executor
in the decedent's will may, before the appointment is made or becomes
effective, pay funeral expenses and take necessary measures for the
maintenance and preservation of the estate.
(c) The order appointing a personal representative shall state in
capital letters on the first page of the order, in at least 12-point
type, the following: "WARNING: THIS APPOINTMENT IS NOT EFFECTIVE
UNTIL LETTERS HAVE ISSUED."
8401. (a) Notwithstanding Section 8400, a petitioner for
appointment as personal representative may deliver property in the
petitioner's possession to a trust company or financial institution
for deposit, or allow a trust company or financial institution to
retain on deposit property already in its possession, as provided in
Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 9700) of Part 5.
(b) The petitioner shall obtain and file with the court a written
receipt including the agreement of the trust company or financial
institution that the property on deposit, including any earnings
thereon, shall not be allowed to be withdrawn except on order of the
(c) In receiving and retaining property under this section, the
trust company or financial institution is protected to the same
extent as though it had received the property from a person who had
been appointed personal representative.
8402. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a
person is not competent to act as personal representative in any of
the following circumstances:
(1) The person is under the age of majority.
(2) The person is subject to a conservatorship of the estate or is
otherwise incapable of executing, or is otherwise unfit to execute,
the duties of the office.
(3) There are grounds for removal of the person from office under
(4) The person is not a resident of the United States.
(5) The person is a surviving partner of the decedent and an
interested person objects to the appointment.
(b) Paragraphs (4) and (5) of subdivision (a) do not apply to a
person named as executor or successor executor in the decedent's
8403. (a) Before letters are issued, the personal representative
shall take and subscribe an oath to perform, according to law, the
duties of the office. The oath may be taken and dated on or after the
time the petition for appointment as personal representative is
signed, and may be filed with the clerk at any time after the
petition is granted.
(b) The oath constitutes an acceptance of the office and shall be
attached to or endorsed on the letters.
8404. (a) Before letters are issued, the personal representative
(other than a trust company or a public administrator) shall file an
acknowledgment of receipt of a statement of duties and liabilities of
the office of personal representative. The statement shall be in the
form prescribed by the Judicial Council.
(b) The court may by local rule require the acknowledgment of
receipt to include the personal representative's birth date and
driver's license number, if any, provided that the court ensures
(c) The statement of duties and liabilities prescribed by the
Judicial Council does not supersede the law on which the statement is
8405. Letters shall be signed by the clerk under the seal of the
court and shall include:
(a) The county from which the letters are issued.
(b) The name of the person appointed as personal representative
and whether the personal representative is an executor,
administrator, administrator with the will annexed, or special
(c) A notation whether the personal representative is authorized
to act under the Independent Administration of Estates Act (Part 6
(commencing with Section 10400) of Division 7), and if so authorized
whether the independent administration authority includes or excludes
the power to do any of the following:
(1) Sell real property.
(2) Exchange real property.
(3) Grant an option to purchase real property.
(4) Borrow money with the loan secured by an encumbrance upon real