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What is a Personal Representative in Estate Planning?

A personal representative in estate planning is also called an executor. When you create a last will and testament, it is advised that you name a personal representative in your documents that will be responsible for ensuring the instructions in your will are carried out. That person needs to be organized and willing to take the appropriate steps with the courts and within the estate to settle your estate. There are a lot of responsibilities that go along with this appointment, so it is important to choose a personal representative you feel will be honest, efficient and motivated to get the job done right.

Duties of a Personal Representative

  • Obtain the latest version of a will
  • Alert family members, creditors, etc., of the person’s death
  • File the necessary paperwork with the probate court
  • Locate and determine the value of all of the assets, including physical property and accounts (accounts such as life insurance automatically pass down to the beneficiaries listed in the plans)
  • Distribute assets to individuals or organizations as specified in the will
  • Pay all incoming bills, taxes, debts and operating expenses
  • Maintain the property of the estate

Personal Representative is a Big Task

As you can imagine, being appointed as a personal representative is a big task and one that can be very time-consuming. You are not legally obligated to accept the responsibility if you are named as personal representative/executor. If you choose to decline, the court will appoint a replacement executor. Likewise, if you start the process and it simply becomes too much to handle, you can also resign or hire an estate lawyer to help you navigate the process. In most cases, the estate will pay for the attorneys’ fees associated with this assistance. Sometimes it is more cost-effective to hire an attorney because the process can move along quicker and more seamlessly with a professional overseeing all the steps.

If you have been named a personal representative of a will, you will have probably been quite close to the deceased. The grieving process may interfere with your ability to handle these responsibilities, but there are certain deadlines of which you must be cognizant.. If you find yourself in this situation, contact the Denver estate lawyers at The Brown Law Firm, LLC for legal advice about estate administration in Denver. Our experienced team can help you through this difficult and emotional process. Contact us today: call (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online.