What Are the Primary Duties of Personal Representatives?

As probate lawyers, we understand the complexities involved in being a personal representative. Our responsibilities will encompass:

  • Asset Control and Valuation. Essential to estate settlement, this involves taking charge of all estate assets. Activities may include obtaining keys to real estate and vehicles, recovering loaned items, and accessing financial accounts. A detailed inventory and valuation of all assets are important steps in this process.
  • Estate Management. As estate-administration attorneys, we guide personal representatives in overseeing the estate’s daily affairs. This includes making mortgage and insurance payments for real property, as well as managing routine upkeep. We provide assistance in the meticulous accounting required for distribution of estate funds.
  • Debt Settlement. A probate attorney’s role is pivotal in settling valid debts owed by the estate. This step precedes the distribution of assets to beneficiaries. Scott Williams Law offers guidance in assessing the legitimacy of claims and managing debt payments.
  • Tax Return Filing. Our team assists personal representatives and executors in engaging a qualified tax professional to handle the preparation and submission of the estate’s final tax returns and the final income tax return of the decedent.
  • Probate Closure. After asset distribution, we prepare and file all necessary court documents to formally conclude the probate process.
  • Asset Distribution. We assist in determining who the beneficiaries and heirs at law are and the assets to which each is entitled. Our services extend to drafting required legal documents, like deeds, to transfer legal titles.
  • Resolving Disputes. In some instances, especially when there is no will, asset distribution can become contentious. This is especially the case when numerous beneficiaries all want the same asset, such as an heirloom or house, and there is no relevant provision in a will. We are experienced in guiding personal representatives in these matters, helping them to craft unique strategies for distribution in the absence of language about who should inherit a specific asset, and helping to gain the agreement of beneficiaries in some instances.