The probate court issues Letters of Testamentary in California. These letters appoint an individual as an executor of a will; and, they give this executor authority over the assets that are in an estate.
Letters of Testamentary require that a will be filed with the probate court, in the county in which the deceased lived, before they can be issued. The will must also be shown to be valid. It is at this point that the Letters of Testamentary are issued and the executor is appointed. The executor can then begin gathering assets, having any necessary appraisals done and paying final bills for the deceased.