Personal Representative Duties
A personal representative is responsible for managing an estate. The duties of a personal representative are set by law, so you should check your state’s probate laws to determine the specific requirements.
The duties of a personal representative were developed as a part of English common law. The English law developed the concept of a “fiduciary,” which was a person who was given control over someone else’s property.
Anyone can serve as a personal representative, but they must be approved and appointed by a court of law. Generally, the person who serves as representative is named in a will or trust.
In general, a representative must locate and take control of all estate assets, manage the assets of the estate, pay the debts of the estate, appraise the assets of the estate, dispose of the assets as required by the will or trust, handle any claims against the estate, pay all estate taxes and close the estate.
The personal representative is expected to be loyal to the interests of the estate and to the wishes of the decedent. They must not put their own interest before that of the estate, and must not personally profit from the estate.
A personal representative serves from the time they are appointed to the the closing of probate. A probate can last anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the issues the estate runs up against.
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