A personal representative is the individual that you put in charge of handling your estate administration. This means the person who gathers all of your assets, submits proper documentation to court, sells those assets to pay for debts and taxes and distributes remaining assets to your beneficiaries. You name this person in your last will and testament but as a Montana personal representative lawyer can tell you, the court will also appoint someone to handle these responsibilities if you do not leave a will. You might also find that this person is referred to as an administrator or an executor but the job is very much the same despite the title.
The duties of a personal representative can be numerous and this is in fact a big reason why many personal representatives choose to hire a personal representative attorney in Montana to get support. As a Montana personal representative attorney can tell you, there are so many different things to think about and if you are also grieving the loss of your loved one, it can be hard to keep all of them straight.
What Is the Role of a Personal Representative in a Testate Estate?
A testate estate simply means that the person who passed away had a last will and testament. Most wills do name an executor or personal representative to serve in this important position. Courts will honor the decedent’s wishes so long as the person named as the executor is still alive and capable of performing. It is required that the person appointed in this role meet all applicable state laws, however, such as being old enough to serve as a personal representative. Other states have more specific rules about who can and can’t be a personal representative. When a beneficiary objects to a personal representative, the court must investigate the issue at hand and determine whether or not the executor needs to be removed. In a testate estate the executor is responsible for handling all of the main duties of estate administration.
What Is the Role of a Personal Representative in an Intestate Estate?
An intestate estate means that the decedent did not leave a last will and testament and therefore did not name who would serve as the executor. In those cases, the role of administrator still must be appointed because it is a lengthy task and confusion could ensue if multiple people attempted to handle executor administration duties. The state law and the court will determine who has priority to be appointed as the personal representative in this case. This typically falls as the first priority to the surviving spouse although surviving children or a surviving child could be appointed if the spouse is unable or unwilling to take on the responsibility.
The judge will then move on down the next of kin until an appropriate person can be appointed. If all of the inheritors are able to agree on who should serve the probate, the judge will normally appoint this person by default. Understanding the role of executor is an important one if you are appointed in this role but it can also be beneficial to understand how it can impact you if you are creating your own will today. In all of these circumstances, having the support of a personal representative attorney in Montana can help answer questions.
What to Do If You’ve Already Been Appointed as Personal Representative
If you have already been named as personal representative you need to get legal counsel to protect your interests. It might seem simple enough to handle the process of probate on your own but you might find yourself in over your head and frustrated with the process soon enough. This is where it makes sense to retain an attorney who has ample experience in supporting the tasks of a personal representative and in guiding this person through any conflicts that arise.
A personal representative lawyer is a powerful advocate and person to have on your side for any of the many questions that could come up during the probate process. Empower yourself with the support of an attorney who can give you the necessary support and dedication required.