A Personal Representative (a "PR" or also called an "Executor") of an estate is an individual or institution appointed by the Court to administer the estate of a person who has died. As a fiduciary, a PR must settle and distribute the estate of the decedent as efficiently as possible by following the directions outlined in the Will and the probate laws of the state where the estate is being administered.
The PR's primary duty is to protect the estate in a manner consistent with the decedent’s wishes. Although this may appear relatively simple, it is important that the PR understand the responsibilities associated with the position. As a word of caution, failure to adhere to these duties and responsibilities can result in the filing of lawsuits against the PR for breach of fiduciary duty.
Generally speaking, a PR is responsible for identifying the assets of the estate, protecting the estate property, giving notice to interested parties (heirs, creditors, and taxing authorities), preparing an inventory, paying valid claims (including debts and taxes) against the estate, representing the estate in claims against others, and distributing the estate property to the beneficiaries.
If you have been named as PR of someone's estate or have questions about probate in general, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to see how we can help.