Tasks For The Personal Representative In A Pennsylvania Probate Case
Probate is the process for wrapping up a deceased individual’s final affairs, whether estate administration is governed by a will or by state laws on intestacy. Early in the proceedings, the court will appoint a personal representative to stand in the shoes of the decedent and manage the estate. Pennsylvania probate laws include information on the powers, duties, and liabilities of personal representatives, but there are few details on what this individual actually does during estate administration.
There are multiple scenarios in which the tasks of a personal representative are important to you:
- You are naming one in a will.
- You were named executor by someone who recently passed.
- You are the beneficiary of an estate.
As such, you should be aware of what a personal representative does as part of estate administration. A Lehighton probate attorney can explain details, but a summary is helpful.
File the Will: If the will was not already recovered and filed with the court, this task will be among the first priorities for the personal representative. Usually, the executor will file the will at the same time as petitioning the court to open the estate and request appointment. However, any person who discovers the will can file it.
Prepare the Estate Inventory: Another important duty in the early stages of the probate process is collecting information on the decedent’s real estate and personal property. The personal representative is required to prepare an inventory of all estate assets, including:
- Primary residence, vacation homes, and investment real estate;
- Automobiles, RVs, boats, and other vehicles;
- Checking, savings, and other bank accounts;
- Retirements and pensions;
- Accounts holding stocks, bonds, and other securities;
- Digital assets and crypto currency;
- Art and collections; and,
- Furniture and personal belongings.
Distributions to Heirs and Beneficiaries: If there is a will, the language will include information on how the deceased’s assets are to be distributed to beneficiaries. There may be specific bequests of designated items, as well as general distributions that are divided among beneficiaries. When there is no will, Pennsylvania law dictates who receives estate assets. The decedent’s heirs include the surviving spouse, children, parents, and other relatives.
The personal representative is responsible for handling distributions to these individuals, whether according to the will or intestacy laws.
Pay Creditor Claims: Most individuals pass away owing money on an account or bill, and the rights of creditors survive the deceased’s passing. A personal representative is required to pay verified claims out of estate assets, but he or she must contest those that are not proven by appropriate paperwork.
A Pennsylvania Probate Lawyer Will Guide You Through the Process
These are some of the tasks that are the responsibility of an estate’s personal representative, and you can see how important it is to ensure these duties are properly managed. For additional details on the probate process in Pennsylvania, please contact the Law Office of Kim M. Gillen, P.C. Our firm serves clients in Carbon County and the surrounding region, so we are happy to advise you.