Tannenbaum Scro, P.L.
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What responsibilities do I have as a personal representative?

Being asked to serve as the personal representative of a loved one or friend’s estate is an honor, in some cases, and a burden in others. In any case, it is a responsibility worth taking seriously. For those who have no idea what is involved in serving as a personal representative of an estate, it can be greatly helpful to work with an experienced attorney. This is all the more important when the size of the estate is significant, or when there are complex claims against the estate.  

What exactly are the duties of a personal representative, though? Essentially, the personal representative is responsible for helping to administer the estate. This means gathering and distributing assets, notifying and paying creditors, and managing the deceased person’s property until it is properly disposed. 

In carrying out the various tasks of estate administration, the personal representative has the duty to act as a fiduciary to the beneficiaries of the estate, including creditors. This means distributing property according to the deceased individual’s will and the requirements of state law. Personal representatives need to be careful to ensure that the actions they take with the estate are authorized under the will, by state law, or by the probate court.

That being said, many of the tasks a personal representative has to carry out can be done without the direct authorization of the probate court, but it is still necessary to know how to handle the property for the benefit of beneficiaries of the estate. Of particular importance is for personal representatives to understand the compensation to which they are entitled, and what they are not allowed to do in terms of taking compensation. Personal representatives also need to have a solid understanding of when they are personally liable for claims arising out of the estate.

Working with an experienced attorney can help ensure that a personal representative not only understands the process of administering an estate, but also that the personal representative performs his or her duties correctly and with minimal risk of personal liability. This is especially important for estates involve significant assets, debts and creditors.

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Tannenbaum Scro, P.L.
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