Personal representatives, also known as executors, serve as an administrator for an estate. The duties are serious and only the most ethical and responsible person should agree to do this task. Continue reading to learn about being a personal representative.
Locate and File the Will
Most personal representatives find out about their duty when the will is written. They also usually know where the will is located. In most states, the will must be the original copy with witnesses and other requirements. Once located, you'll have to make an appointment with a probate attorney to arrange for the will to be filed with the probate court.
Probate Approves Your Appointment
You are not officially the personal representative unit the court approves you. Sometimes, personal representatives are asked to obtain a bond to cover them during probate. The cost of the bond is based on the dollar value of the estate. The bond protects the estate should anyone come forward to allege wrongdoing by the personal representative and provides funds to fight against the charges. Once you get the letter of appointment, your duties begin.
Make an Inventory
Estates are made up of assets and the probate court needs to know what those assets are and how much they are worth. Make a list of everything of value the deceased owned. List real estate, bank and investment accounts, jewelry and artwork, antiques and collectibles, and vehicles. Minor furnishings don't need to be listed, so don't bother counting the bowls in the kitchen or the blankets in the closet. In some cases, the court will require you to obtain a professional appraisal of the home or other items. Get the inventory back to the court as soon as possible so that the probate can proceed.
You will be working with the probate lawyer during probate, which can last several months. One of your main responsibilities is to oversee estate property. That means keeping it secure. You should not be giving out estate property without the permission of the probate lawyer or the court. Keeping things in good repair is another requirement. If the home needs repair or maintenance, you should take care of that.
Paying certain bills is another task but you should work with the probate lawyer to determine which bills should be paid. Generally, you should pay any bills associated with estate property like homeowners' insurance, storage fees, lawn maintenance, security bills, etc. However, don't pay credit card or medical bills. In most cases, those bills should be set aside for later.
Once probate is over, you are free to give the beneficiaries their property and your job is done. Speak to a probate lawyer to find out more.
Visit a website, such as https://www.wrightlawidaho.com/, to learn more about wills.