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Probate Personal Representative

A probate personal representative is responsible for overseeing administration of an estate held in probate. When a person dies everything they own is transferred to probate and held until the estate is closed. During probate the personal representative must obtain property appraisals, pay outstanding debts and distribute assets to designated beneficiaries.

The position of probate personal representative requires good money management skills and the ability to mediate with family should disputes arise. Individuals appointed to this position must be at least 18 years of age and never convicted of felony offenses.

Probate executors are typically appointed within the decedent's Will. Estate planners recommend talking with the individual prior to designating them. Probate administrators have numerous duties and in some instances the person you would like to carry out these duties is unable or unwilling to manage your estate. It is best to determine if the person you choose to appoint is prepared to handle the necessary procedures; otherwise complications could arise.

Experts also recommend appointing two probate personal representatives within the Will. Reason being if the primary probate executor is unable to fulfill the duties, the second named executor can quickly and easily step into the role. This preventative measure will ensure the estate can be administered without delay.

Probate personal representatives are compensated for their duties. Fees are regulated by each individual state. Some states compensate estate executors based on an hourly wage. Others pay a flat-fee or percentage of the estate's value.

Although estate administrators can forego payment for their services, it is important to realize that probate can last for several years. Over the course of time, administrators can engage in countless hours of estate work.

In cases where a person dies without executing a Will, a probate judge will appoint someone to administer the estate. In most instances, a direct lineage relative is appointed. However, the judge can appoint an outsider such as a probate attorney or estate planner.

Many people procrastinate about estate planning. Oftentimes, people falsely believe that if they do not own real estate or financial assets there is no need to execute a Will. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A Last Will and Testament provides you with the opportunity to have a final say in who receives your personal belongings. Whether it is a coin collection, antiques, jewelry or sentimental items, it is important to put your final wishes in writing.

Estate planning is exceptionally important for married couples and individuals with minor children. Guardianship is established through a Will and ensures your children will be taken care of by someone you trust. Should you die intestate (without a Will) your children could be placed in foster care or with people you would not want them to live with.

If you are confused about estate planning or need advice on selecting a probate personal representative, I invite you to visit our probate article library. Here you will find dozens of articles to help you understand the probate process and how to locate experts who can assist you.

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Published on March 21, 2009 at 03:17 AM

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