A personal representative refers to an individual who is responsible for managing the estate of a person who has died. This person is appointed through the decedent's last will and will either manage the estate based on probate laws or trust management.
A probate estate personal representative has more duties than those who manage trusts. Trusts are established through estate planning and all inheritance property placed inside the trust is exempt from probate. Personal representatives of trusts are referred to as a Trustee. When trusts are established inheritance property is distributed quickly.
The process to settle probated estates typically extends for six to nine months. During probate, the personal representative is responsible for multiple duties including acting as a fiduciary. Probate laws generally require establishing an estate bank account to record all financial transactions.
Estate administrators are required to submit a death certificate and petition to the probate court in the jurisdiction where the decedent resided. Some states require probate personal representative to obtain court confirmation. This act grants them authority to act as the conservator of the estate and make decisions without court supervision.
Other states require probate executors to obtain court authorization for all matters related to estate management, while others only require probate court approval for major decisions such as selling inheritance houses or businesses.
A personal representative will typically require assistance from a probate lawyer or estate planner. Many legal aspects are involved with settling estates including abiding by probate laws and filing final tax returns. Few people can undergo the probate process on their own and can prolong probate when attempting to fly solo.
Legal and estate management fees are paid through the estate. Some decedents establish a legal fund through their last will or trust. Anticipated estate management funds can be placed in this account to cover personal representative compensation fees, court costs, filing fees, and legal representation.
Probate executor compensation varies by state. Some states require Administrators be paid an hourly wage. Others pay a flat fee or percentage of estate value. Personal representative compensation is considered income and must be reported on personal tax returns. Always seek advice from a tax accountant regarding estate guardian income.
Estate planning experts recommend designating two personal representatives within the Will. If the primary estate administrator is unable or unwilling to engage in estate management, the second person can sign a personal representative form and quickly assume the role.
Oftentimes, family members are appointed to the position of estate administrator and hesitant to accept personal representative fees. Realize estate settlement can require substantial work which can last for months or years. There is nothing wrong with being compensated for time required to settle probated estates.
If you have not already drafted a last will and testament, now is the perfect time to do so. Many people procrastinate about writing a will, but should they die suddenly they will leave a heavy burden for loved ones.
Writing a will or establishing a trust is not difficult or expensive. Estate planners and probate lawyers charge a nominal fee for executing a simple will and establishing durable power of attorney and healthcare directives.
Our probate and personal representative article library provides a wealth of information on all facets of estate planning and probate. Here you will discover information and resources on a wide range of topics including how to write a will, inheritance taxes, probate, types of trusts, how to avoid probate and more.
As a private investor and probate liquidator, I offer inheritance cash advances to personal representatives and heirs. If you need to sell probate inheritance assets, fill out the cash for inheritance form. I will contact you to discuss available options.