When a person creates a will, it’s important for him or her to choose a trustworthy personal representative. The personal representative is the person who is responsible for administering the estate. He or she must follow the terms of the will and has decision-making authority.
Responsibilities and characteristics
The personal representative has many responsibilities. These include determining the value of the deceased person’s estate, notifying the beneficiaries of the will that they are entitled to a share of the estate’s property, paying outstanding debts and filing final taxes.
While this can seem overwhelming, the personal representative is not required to complete all of these tasks him or herself. He or she can seek advice and guidance from legal and financial professionals and may be entitled to some compensation from the estate for performing personal representative duties.
He or she also has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the person who created the will. The personal representative should be responsible, organized and willing to carry out all of the requirements to close the estate.
It is often difficult to predict how long it may take to close an estate. Sometimes, if the will is contested, if the estate is large or if the beneficiaries have disputes, it can take longer. On the other hand, if the will is clear, well-drafted and the assets and debts are easily located, it may only take a short time.
If a person has questions about estate administration, an experienced attorney can help.