You’ve Been Named Personal Representative of a Will — Now What?
Being named the Personal Representative of a loved one’s estate can be a great honor. After all, it means that they trust you with their final wishes. They think you honest, responsible and trustworthy enough to see to their final affairs. However, it can also be overwhelming. There are a lot of decisions to make, and some will be hard calls. This can be especially true if the estate is a complex one.
What then is involved in being the Personal Representative of a will, and how can you make sure you take all the necessary steps? Discover what it means to be an estate Personal Representative, how to make the right decisions to enforce a loved one’s will and how an estate planning attorney can help.
The Responsibilities of the Personal Representative
The Personal Representative of a will has a metric ton of responsibilities to face. They need to understand the probate process, the legal terminology involved and have to interact with people at all levels, from government officials to grieving family. You’ll need to oversee investments and fill out a great deal of paperwork.
You may also face complex decisions involving the assets left behind. Your control might only extend to some of these assets, and those you cannot access may be taxable. You will have to deal with the direct beneficiaries to ensure these taxes are paid. Finally, you’ll have to play the role of diplomat, dealing with disagreements among heirs who dispute their inheritance.
There are a number of very specific duties you’ll need to perform. You will have to file a copy of the will with the probate court. You’ll need to inform the deceased’s debtors of their passing, including banks, credit card companies, and government agencies. You will have to set up a bank account to deal with funds and bills related to the estate.
You will have to organize the estate and its assets into an inventory. Any properties will need to be maintained until sold or allocated. You will be responsible for the distribution of assets. Finally, you’ll need to determine if you have to go through probate court and if so, represent the estate in proceedings.
Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney
The process of administering an estate can be an overwhelming experience. Making the wrong decision or failing to pay a bill can cost a great deal in terms of not just money but the stress on you and the other heirs. The legal terminology and processes you have to go through can be confusing to someone without the right training and knowledge.
An estate planning attorney can be your best ally in this process. The right attorney can help you to make the right decisions and guide you through all the legal requirements and processes you need to navigate. If you’re in Montana and you need help with probate issues or being the Personal Representative of an estate, call Tanko Law for help today.