Role and Responsibilities of a Personal Representative

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A Personal Representative (sometimes called an administrator or an executor) is a person who is given the responsibility of settling the estate of a deceased person. A personal representative can be nominated by the individual who makes a Will or appointed by a court handling the probate proceedings in the event there is no Will. An executor or personal representative has the responsibility for administrating property and ensuring distribution in accordance with established probate rules and procedures.The main responsibilities of a personal representative are:• Obtaining the Will and finding the beneficiaries named therein• Informing all beneficiaries and other concerned parties about the probate process and the notice period for contesting a Will• Identifying whether there are any probate assets• Gathering and valuing the inventory of probate assets, including real estate of the deceased• Setting up a checking account for the estate of the deceased• Giving legal notice to potential creditors• Identifying the liabilities, investigating their validity, and paying them off• Assessing the deceased’s income and estate tax liabilities• Filing tax returns on time• Paying funeral and other bills• Paying all ongoing expenses required to administer the estate of the deceased• Receiving all payments, such as interest and income, due to the estate• Investing the estate assets in a safe manner till they are distributed to the beneficiaries• Handling the necessary paper work and filing the essential documents with the court in a timely manner• Distributing the assets to various beneficiaries and closing the probateA personal representative can retain an estate lawyer to assist them in the performance of all their fiduciary duties.Since an executor has access to all property in the probate estate, make sure you choose a competent and trustworthy person. Business intelligence, integrity and honesty are the key qualities a personal representative should possess.