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Legal Advice For Personal Representatives

When you’re appointed as personal representative of an estate, you have certain legal obligations that you must take seriously.
Know Your Role

You’re responsible for the following:

  • obtaining the final will and filing it with probate court (if applicable). It’s essential that you understand all details of the will.
  • filing an inventory of estate assets with the court and maintain property until it can be distributed or sold.
  • notifying creditors and government agencies. Pay outstanding bills and formally notify the Social Security Administration and other agencies and outlets.
  • establishing a separate bank account for bill payment and to manage incoming funds. Never make payments from or accept money to your personal accounts.
  • distributing assets as outlined in the will. Arrange for the disposal (or donation) of other property.

Understand The Challenges
Depending on various factors, you may be unable or unwilling to proceed. Other times, joint personal representatives simply can’t agree on how to move forward.

There may be other disputes that arise. You might face contention from family members. You could even find yourself in a legal action associated with the probate. For instance, if it’s determined that personal negligence resulted in loss of estate assets, loved ones of the deceased could file suit. There are other scenarios that could result in legal action, including:

  • diminished estate assets as a result of inadequate record keeping or making risky investments
  • failure to pay bills, debts, and taxes
  • stealing or misappropriating funds
  • selling or distributing assets without express permission
  • withholding inheritance
  • delegating decisions to those persons without legal authority

Most of these hypothetical instances can be avoided with open and honest communication, obtaining and filing appropriate court documentation, and committed fulfillment to your duties as personal representative.

You also have certain basic rights. That includes being properly reimbursed for any personal expenses incurred. You may also receive some sort of compensation for your role in the process. In a probate with beneficiaries other than just yourself, you must hire an attorney.

Get Expert Advice
We proudly offering our services in both Volusia and Flagler Counties. Please call us at 386.672.8081 for advice regarding probates.