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Probate Personal Representative

Probate personal representative refers to a person in charge of overseeing the estate of a deceased person. Probate is the legal process used to establish estate value, validate the decedent's Will, and ensure assets are distributed to intended beneficiaries.

The probate personal representative is typically designated within the decedent's Last Will and Testament. When a person dies intestate (without a Will), a representative is appointed through the probate court. Oftentimes, the probate executor is a spouse, child or sibling. However, the estate executor does not need to be a relative to the decedent. Personal friends, probate attorneys and estate planners can be appointed to this position.

Most people are unaware of the complexities involved with administering an estate. Duties include: obtaining property appraisals, locating missing heirs and lost property, submitting legal documents to the court, working with attorneys or estate planners, distribution of personal belongings, mediating family disputes, paying outstanding bills, and preparing a final tax return.

Although probate personal representatives can enlist the help of others, full responsibility rests on their shoulders. Probate can drag on for years and require the Administrator to engage in hours of paperwork, phone calls and meetings.

Probate executors are compensated for their work. Each individual state regulates probate and establishes the fee paid to personal representatives. Fees can be paid based on an hourly rate, flat fee or percentage of the estate's value.

When selecting a probate personal representative to manage your estate, it is important to choose someone who is good with money and can make tough decisions during difficult times. Death has a tendency to bring out the best and worst in people. It is not uncommon for family disputes to erupt; particularly when it comes to claiming their inheritance.

If heirs feel slighted and contest the Will, additional legal fees can quickly diminish the estate's value. Oftentimes, estate administrators are forced to sell assets to probate liquidators in order to pay attorney fees. It's important to appoint a probate personal representative that can extinguish family feuds should they arise. Otherwise, the only people benefiting from your estate will be the probate attorneys.

If you have not yet engaged in estate planning you are making a big mistake. This is particularly true if you are married or have minor children. Executing a Will is a simple and affordable way to provide your loved ones with peace of mind.

I invite you to learn more about establishing protocol for end-of-life matters in our probate and estate planning article library. While it's not always easy to think about, one thing is for certain - no one gets out alive. Don't leave a mess for your family to clean up. Visit our library and learn how easy it is to take care of business while you're still alive and healthy.

If you are a probate personal representative and need to sell assets quickly, I would like to talk with you. Feel free to contact me via email or submit information about your estate via the "Forms" page.