What are the main duties of a personal representative?

The main tasks of a Personal Representative are to:

(1) determine if there are any probate assets;

(2) identify, gather, and inventory the assets of the deceased;

(3) receive payments due the estate, including interest, dividends, and other income (e.g., unpaid salary, vacation pay, and other company benefits);

(4) set up a checking account for the estate;

(5) figure out who is going to get what and how much under the Will (if there is no Will, the state’s “interstate succession laws” apply);

(6) value or appraise the estate’s assets;

(7) give legal notice to potential creditors (the procedure and deadlines for creditors to file claims vary from state-to-state);

(8) investigate the validity of all claims against the estate;

(9) pay funeral bills, outstanding debts, and valid claims;

(10) pay the expenses of administrating the estate;

(11) handle various paperwork, such as discontinuing utilities and charge cards, and notifying Social Security, Civil Service, and Veterans Administration of the death;

(12) file and pay income and estate taxes;

(13) distribute the remaining property in accordance with the instructions provided in the deceased’s Will; and

(14) close probate.

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