Personal Representative

Massachusetts Personal Representative Lawyer

A personal representative in Massachusetts is the individual given the proper legal authority to make decisions and distributions on behalf of a deceased person’s estate. In most cases a personal representative is just one person. However, multiple individuals can serve in this role at the discretion of a person creating their own estate.

What Is a Personal Representative in Massachusetts?

A personal representative has a vested interest in doing a job to the best of their ability not only because they likely know or were related to the deceased but also have a legal responsibility known as fiduciary duty to carry out this role as effectively as possible. An executor is another term that can be used to describe the services provided by a personal representative. Most personal representatives have not done this type of role before and therefore, may feel out of their element in approaching the process of completing probate in Massachusetts.

There are many different tasks and responsibilities that all must be undertaken with care and this makes it even more important to retain a lawyer who has experience in this field. A Massachusetts personal representative attorney assists the executor in carrying out their duties and completing required paperwork. Another reason to hire a personal representative attorney in Massachusetts is because this lawyer can represent the interests of the personal representative if and when disputes arise.

Understanding the Role of Executor or Personal Representative in Massachusetts

Most states explicitly state the role of personal representative as one of closing out probate. The length and time involvement of this can vary tremendously based on how many assets are inside the estate and whether or not the personal representative encounters any challenges. The general role of personal representative or executor depends largely on the decedent’s will terms. If no will was created, however, a personal representative still must be appointed to handle these important tasks. An executor or personal representative’s role includes:

  • Accounting for all assets that are owned by the estate
  • Notifying potential creditors as well as beneficiaries about the existence of the estate
  • Paying any income and estate taxes
  • Distributing remaining assets from the decedent according to the terms of tehri will, or if there is no will, to the terms of intestate succession, and
  • Carrying out any other probate related tasks, such as ensuring that the proper guardian is named for the decedent’s minor children

The executor must uphold their duty with care. The estate must be administered in the estate’s best interests, such as avoiding conflicts of interest, abiding by terms of the will and completing all tasks in a timely manner. Some of the most common mistakes can avoid the possibility of conflict and disputes including;

  • Failing to give proper notice to heirs
  • Making distributions to family members before paying all valid creditor claims
  • Failing to file estate tax returns
  • Improperly interpreting the decedent’s will terms
  • Waiting too long to perform certain tasks

These can all lead to complex and costly litigation. Make sure that if you are appointed in this role, you equip yourself with the support of an experienced attorney. You deserve to know what to expect and how you can avoid some of the most common problems.

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