When you create a will, you should appoint someone to carry out its mandate. If you don’t, the probate court will appoint someone to act as the personal representative or executor of the estate. Being chosen as the personal representative or executor of an estate is a huge responsibility, as discussed below.
The spotlight will be squarely on you as you will be responsible for administering and distributing the estate according to the will’s instructions. Therefore, you need to be well prepared for this huge undertaking.
Your duties as a personal representative
In a nutshell, you will be officially acting on behalf of the decedent. Your duties include filing a copy of the will with the probate court and notifying relevant government agencies of the testator’s death. You are also required to file an application that legally designates you to act as the personal representative.
Afterward, you will need to set up a bank account for estate funds, consolidate the estate assets, and complete their appraisals. You will also be responsible for settling all valid claims to the estate, such as outstanding debts or taxes, before distributing the estate to the beneficiaries. You will also appear in court on behalf of the estate when necessary.
Protecting your interests as an executor of an estate
If you have been named the personal representative in a will, it is crucial to understand your role fully and avoid any financial or legal liability. Probate should ideally be a smooth process, but challenges may crop up along the way. You should not be caught flat-footed.
It is advisable to reach out for help on how to conduct yourself during probate to ensure you effectively do your job and close the estate without any hiccups.