Westall, Gray & Connolly, P.A. |   wgcd@wgcdlaw.com |   828-254-6315 | Hours: M-F 8:30am - 5pm

Responsibilities of a Personal Representative

Responsibilities of a Personal Representative

What does the  Personal Representative do? First off, the Personal Representative and the Executor of a Will are on in the same, and the terms can be used interchangeably.

The Personal Representative ("PR" for short) is the person (or persons) in charge of getting a deceased's estate in order.  Depending on how the decedent handled his or her affairs before death, the PR's job may be a smooth and quick one, or a prolonged and tough road.  The PR will have to:

  • Determine the  value of the Estate at the time of death.  This step may involve hiring appraisers or accountants depending on the types of assets owned by the decedent at the time of his or her passing.
  • Duty to identify, find, and collect assets.  The PR will also have to identify any assets belonging to the deceased that may not have been in the immediate possession of the deceased. This can include anything from finding the safety deposit box at the bank, to hunting down stocks, or collecting promissory notes and cashing checks.
  • Paying the final debts of the Estate.  The PR will also have to pay all final expenses of the decedent with the assets of the estate. While this is usually a manageable process, if there are not enough assets or some debts are in dispute, the PR can run into challenges that may require legal action involving the court system.
  • Paying Taxes.  The PR will have to file and pay the final personal income tax return of the decedent, as well as pay any Estate Tax if that happens to be owed as well. 
  • Special Powers.  The testator (the Will's author) can provide special powers to the PR in the Will to help the PR with the administration of the estate.
  • Distributing the assets to the heirs.  The PR will also be responsible for following the Will's instructions and delivering the personal possessions and funds of the deceased to the heirs as provided for in the Will.

All of these steps will also have to be documented with the Clerk of Court on the appropriate forms.  The Clerk requires this in an effort to help safeguard the assets of the estate.

Anyone can make use of a Trust to help reduce the burden on the Personal Representative. The Trust reduces the amount of the estate that passes through Probate and under the guise of the Clerk of Court.  This can greatly reduce the burden of the administrative tasks placed on the Personal Representative, such as hiring experts to value the estate.  While a Trust provides numerous advantages for an Estate Administration, not everyone needs a Trust. A Will may be the best tool for you. 

If you are a Personal Representative, or are trying to select one for your Will, we will be glad to speak with you about any issues or questions you may have.  These are not everyday questions, and we are more than willing to provide you with clarity and guidance.

Posted by wiley

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 Office - (828) 254-6315
 Fax - (828) 255-0305
 Hours: M-F 8:30am - 5pm

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