A personal representative is the name used to refer to the individual who administers the estate of a deceased person. To be eligible to serve as a personal representative, you must be 21 years of age or older, of sound mind, and have no conflicts of interest with the estate.
In some cases, more than one qualified individual may want to serve as the personal representative of an estate. If this occurs, appointment occurs in this order:
- the person appointed in the will being probated
- the deceased’s surviving spouse who is an heir of the deceased
- other devisees of the deceased
- the surviving spouse of the deceased
- other heirs of the deceased
- if no other individual has been appointed within 45 days after the person dies, a creditor can be appointed
It is also possible for an estate to have more than one personal representative serving at the same time. They are referred to as “joint personal representatives” or “co-personal representatives.
Once a personal representative has been appointed, he or she has numerous duties and obligations under the law, including:
- obtaining control over the estate’s assets
- preparing an inventory and appraisal of the property owned by the decedent
- providing financial reports to “interested persons” who request it
- filing tax returns and paying an taxes due
- giving notice to creditors
- paying valid debts of the decedent, including expenses related to administering the estate
- determining and making the distributions to be made to heirs and beneficiaries
- Closing the probate action
If you have been appointed as a personal representative and you need help, contact us for help. The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.