What is the difference between an Executor and Personal Representative
The Duties of an Executor and Personal Representative Are Virtually Identical –
The Responsibilities of Personal Representative
The Personal Representative is the person or institute (bank/trust or company etc.) placed in charge of settling an estate. The Executor of a will is the same as Personal Representative. Also referred to as an executrix if she is a female. If the probate court appoints the personal representative, they are called an administrator. This would be an estates where the decedent died without a will. They also may have left a will without naming a personal representative, or if they die, the individual he chose is unable or unwilling to serve. The Probate court will then appoint an administrator to handle probate of the estate in these situations.
Ideally, this can avoided if the deceased also names Personal Representative backups in case the first choice(s) isn’t/aren’t available to serve.
Personal Representative, Executor and/or Administrator Will Be Responsible For:
Although state probate laws can vary, the duties of will usually include:
Locating and safeguarding all probate assets: The estates assets are property that have no other way but probate of passing to a living individual. Life insurance and certain retirement accounts with beneficiary designations pass directly to beneficiaries by operation of law, so they would not be included in a probate estate.
- Obtaining date of death values (Appraisals) for probate estate assets:
- Obtaining date of death values for non-probate assets: For tax purposes and especially if there are surviving spouses and children from previous marriages etc.
- Identifying all creditors and paying off/renegotiating debts (in the case of surviving business partners and ongoing suppliers etc): Includes running newspaper notices and also send written notices directly to all creditors that can be identified.
- Preparing and filing tax returns:
- Paying the ongoing expenses of estate: Debts, taxes and operating expenses of estate must be paid before probate closes. This might require liquidating assets to raise the cash.
- Distributing balance of estate to beneficiaries: This requires filing one or more documents with the probate court
Obviously, serving as a personal representative can be a huge responsibility and a time-consuming burden.