On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Estate Administration on Apr 13, 2015.
In the world of estate planning and wills, a personal representative is the person appointed by a testator to manage all the details and legal matters of the estate after the testator’s death. This is the person you appoint in your will to oversee the distribution of your assets, to pay your debts and taxes, and to make sure the particulars of your will are carried out. It’s a big job. A personal representative is a fiduciary — he or she has a legal duty to manage your estate with honesty and diligence, to act in good faith in all matters related to your estate. The law expects such a high level of integrity because the personal representative has a good deal of authority. When you die, your personal representative takes your place: He or she controls and legally possesses your personal property and your real estate (unless you have allowed an heir or devisee to live there, and the arrangement does not interfere with the rights of another heir or devisee). Your personal representative can liquidate your assets if necessary. If you owe a lot of money at the time of your death, or if your estate and inheritance taxes are more than your checking account can cover, your personal representative may even sell off your real estate to pay the bills. Many of the tasks of a personal representative are simple common sense: Find the heirs, distribute the assets, pay the bills and so on. What you need […]