What are the Responsibilities of the Personal Representative?
Whether the Personal Representative is an Administrator in an Intestate Estate or Executor in a Testate Estate the responsibilities are essentially the same. After he or she is appointed the Court will issue Letters of Office. The Letters of Office provide the authority to gather assets of the deceased person for purposes of paying the bills left unpaid at the time of death. Actual notice is required to be sent to those that are known to be owed money and a publication must posted in a local newspaper for unknown creditors. The minimum claim period is 6 months from the date of appointment.
The representative is required to compile an Inventory of all of the assets known within 60 days from the date of appointment. The representative is responsible for the filing of the deceased person’s last income tax return and income tax returns for the Estate for income generated during the period of administration. In certain cases, Estate Taxes may also have to be paid. After all claims are paid, settled or otherwise determined by the court and the tax issues have been addressed, the representative must prepare an Accounting of all receipts and disbursements made during the period of administration and disburse the assets remaining to the beneficiaries of the estate. A word of warning: If an Executor or Administrator distributes assets to beneficiaries before the claim period has expired and a creditor then files a claim before the deadline, the representative could be held personally responsible for the payment of the claim.
Once this Final Account is approved by the beneficiaries or heirs, the representative can file his or her Final Report for court approval; seek a Discharge of responsibility and Close the Estate.