There are two different terms for the individual that manages the process of an estate; either an Executor or Administrator. If there is a Will, the manager will be referred to as the Executor, and the estate is deemed to be Testate.
If there is no Will, the manager will be referred to as the Administrator, and the Estate is deemed to be Intestate.
Generally, a Will names an Executor. If an Executor is not named, or if a Will does not exist, then the Court will appoint someone. One of the Beneficiaries in the Will, or an heir of the Decedent usually petitions the court to be appointed as the personal representative. Normally, that would be a surviving spouse or the Decedent’s oldest child. Sometimes they will not want to serve, and another heir or a private professional fiduciary may request appointment.
It is not uncommon for more than one heir to ask to be appointed administrator, and that would result in competing petitions going before the Court. A hearing would be held, and a Judge would determine who would best serve the estate. Occasionally, more than one heir will share the responsibility of acting as personal representative.
Remember, it is always best to consult an Attorney to understand your rights and protect your interest.