If there is no will, the spouse has the first claim to be appointed as administrator under the rules of intestacy (dying without a will).
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The spouse would be first in line. As far as getting property you wish to have there is a statute that speaks to who gets what proportions but if you are talking about specific unique items you will be well advised to have appraisals done and work out an amicable deal with the administrator. Keep in mind if she does not want to serve or for some reason is not fit someone else could be named but that would be a somewhat lengthy process.
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You need to discuss this with an attorney. Depending on the assets in the estate you may have some claim to a part of the estate. The other attorneys are correct that the spouse has priority. Also, unless specified in a will, the contents of the home and personal property will go to the spouse. If there are items that are of particular importance to you, maybe she would agree to work something out.
The above answer is not to be considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should consult your attorney for specific legal advice as to your individual situation.
Judicial appointment of the PR is according to priority; 1) the spouse, 2) if there is a disagreement, then it is the person nominated by the most number of heirs, so you could hire a probate attorney to issue a challenge to the spouse becoming PR.
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Not necessarily. There should be a hearing to appoint your step mother as personal representative. You should file an objection with the court so it understands your position, and if possible attend the hearing. The judge always has the final say, but sometimes a judge will utilize an administrator ad litem who would be a disinterested third party and would only administer the estate pursuant to the intestacy statutes.