When a loved one passes a person may find out that they were named as the deceased individual’s Personal Representative. What does that mean? It mean the person was nominated by the deceased to administer his or her estate after passing. A Personal Representative (called an Executor in other states) has the following duties:
Duties of a Personal Representative In Arizona
1. Review the Will , determine if there were any special instructions in the Will and meet with family members and heirs.
2. Petition to probate the will. This process means beginning a court proceeding to evaluate the Will, pay creditor claims and transfer assets to heirs.
3. Assemble and inventory the assets of the deceased person.
4. Review the deceased’s financial records and arrange to file a final tax return.
5. Review non-probate assets for tax and creditor claim issues.
6. Administer the estate by collecting all assets, paying all valid debts, filing all necessary documents with the Court and determine amounts and property to be distributed to heirs.
7. Distribute assets to the heirs.
Read more detail about the Duties of a Personal Representative.
That seems like a lot of information to digest, and it is! Powers and Neal have represented numerous personal representatives as they navigate through the process of dividing up a decedent’s assets and negotiate the liabilities.
It is important for a personal representative to understand that he or she is a fiduciary of the heirs of the decedent. The personal representative has many duties and obligations when fulfilling the wishes of the decent in the administration of the estate. But, of course, for all of the legal and emotional challenges, we at Powers & Neal believe that with our assistance, personal representatives will find some fulfillment of their own in helping the decedent realize his or her final wishes.
Another important aspect of acting as personal representative is recognizing the authority of the Court over the administration of the estate. Depending on the case and circumstances thereof, there may be Court Orders which subject the personal representative to additional duties and obligations. One does not want to stray from the orders of a Court! As we have with many clients, Powers & Neal works with personal representatives and the Court in order to make the probate process as efficient as possible.
One last requirement of personal representatives worth noting, is the requirement to provide information to the beneficiaries so that they are able to protect their interests. With the duty of responsibility of being a Personal Representative, comes personal liability and responsibility for any losses or damage to the estate which result from a violation of the personal representative’s duties.
Powers & Neal understands the emotional and legal needs of personal representatives and beneficiaries, too, and believe we provide the most efficient, responsive services in Arizona. Please give us a call.