What Many Don'T Realize About Personal Representative Roles

After someone passes away, the personal representative (or executor) serves as the go-between for the probate lawyer, the probate court, and the family. This job presents those appointed with some serious responsibilities and not everyone is aware of some aspects of the job. Read on to find out what many don't realize about personal representative roles.

The Choice is Up to You

In most cases, those appointed to be the personal representatives are aware of it well ahead of time. However, in no case are personal representatives required to fulfill the role. If you are too busy, are not well, or just don't feel up to it, you can let the probate lawyer know and the court will appoint someone else. If you have been named a personal representative and are unsure of what to expect, speak to a probate lawyer before you accept and find out more about the scope of the job. Some estates are small and easy, but some can be very complex, and accepting the appointment could mean months of work.

You Could Get in Trouble

State law guides probate and the activities of the personal representative. As the position involves dealing with estate property, those serving in the role have a fiduciary duty. That means that you can be sued and even face charges if you are found to be misusing your role to acquire property for yourself in an unfair manner. Since many personal representatives are also beneficiaries of the estate, be very careful with your actions.

You Might Be Compensated

Some estates provide pay to the personal representative but that varies with the size of the estate and more. In most cases, the pay equals a certain percentage of the total value of the estate.

You Are Not Alone

Not only do some states allow more than one person at a time to take on the role of the personal representative, but you always have the support and advice of the probate lawyer close at hand. You will need help from the lawyer to interpret the laws as you perform your duties. In fact, almost every move made by a personal representative is overseen by the probate lawyer.

Paying Estate Bills is Important but Don't Get Carried Away

Just because the funds exist to pay estate bills does not mean you should pay them. Probate laws define what bills must be paid right away, which ones can wait, and which ones are probably not going to get paid at all. Don't whip out that checkbook without the lawyer's go-ahead.

To find out more about the duties of the personal representative, speak to a probate lawyer.

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When most people think of hiring an attorney, they picture gloom-and-doom situations like crime and divorce. But in fact, there are so-called happy times when you would need to hire a lawyer. Perhaps it is time to draft your will and make sure all of your possessions get handed down to the right people after you pass away. Or maybe it is time to establish a trust and protect some of your estate. General attorneys offer a wide range of services, including those for good times and those for bad times. You can learn more about these professionals and their profession right here.

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