If you have been appointed as the Personal Representative of the estate of a friend or family member, there’s a lot you should know before diving in. Hiring a probate attorney in Maryland can be very helpful to you during this process, and can ensure that there will be no unpleasant surprises along the way.
What is a Personal Representative?
The term “personal representative” refers to the person who is appointed to manage the estate of another person once that person passes away. The main responsibilities of a personal representative are:
- Deciding what type of estate should be opened and where.
- Locating all the assets of the estate and taking possession or title of them.
- Determining which debts and bills should be paid and when.
- Preserving the value of the assets and protecting them from loss.
- Submitting the proper reports to the Register of Wills or the Court.
- Distributing the assets of the estate in accordance with the terms of the will within the time provided.
- Exercising the prudence, care, and diligence they would use regarding their own personal affairs.
Helpful Tips for Your First Time as a Personal Representative
Being the personal representative of an estate can be a difficult and often emotional process. Here are things to look out for and some helpful advice that will make your experience settling an estate less stressful:
- Identify the decedent’s creditors early on to efficiently handle remaining debt.
- Ensure all claims against the estate are legitimate before dismissing those that seem unreasonable or processing the ones that appear lawful.
- Get professional advice if there is not going to be enough money to pay all creditors.
- Pay those bills necessary to preserve the assets of the estate—real estate taxes, insurance, heating oil bills, etc.
- Never “borrow” from the estate’s funds for personal use, even if you have the intention of paying it back.
- Establish clear communication with everyone who is entitled to inherit from the estate.
- Do not distribute any assets of the estate before the creditor claims process is completed in order to ensure there is enough money in the estate to pay all debts and to avoid personal liability for premature asset distribution.
- Always ensure that you are acting in the best interests of the estate.
Your Reliable Estate Planning Lawyer in Maryland
DK Rus Law has over 30 years of experience working with clients to better understand and navigate all aspects of the probate and estate planning process. Contact us for more information on what to expect as a first-time personal representative of an estate or to set up your free legal consultation today.