The way a human being acquires authority over an estate is by applying to the probate court (or equivalent) and being appointed by the court to act as executor, personal representative, administrator, etc, etc... Court-appointed in this context is not the same as the "court-appointed" defense attorney for indigent clients you hear about in TV and the movies...
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I agree with Attorney Carrier. I will only add this: when a person is named in a will as an executor, but the testator has not died or the will has not been probated, most attorneys refer to the person as a "designated executor." Note that a "designated executor" has absolutely no powers until a court appoints him or her as executor. Good luck to you.
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In addition to the information provided by my colleagues, an Executor named in the Will but not appointed by the court may also be referred to as the "named executor" as well as a "nominated executor." However, it seems to me you would probably save a lot of time and get a clearer answer to your questions if you scheduled a consultation with an experienced Probate/Wills and Estates attorney. Many will even offer a free initial consultation.
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The executor granted Letters Testamentary would be the appointed executor. Otherwise, it would be the Named Executor, I suppose. Appointing an executor is not the same as a true, Court-appointed guardian or administrator.