Personal Representative

The death of a close friend or a loved one is a difficult experience and can even be traumatic depending on your relationship to the deceased. In addition to the grief and other emotional anguish, those who are responsible for managing the affairs of a deceased individual are left with plenty more questions than they have answers about the responsibilities and duties.

This is what makes it even more important to retain the services of a personal representative lawyer in Nebraska. When you are serving as an executor or a personal representative you have a legal responsibility to uphold a high level of loyalty to the beneficiaries of the estate and also to follow all applicable state laws.

Understanding Probate

After an individual passes away their assets need to be gathered, debts paid, tax returns filed and business affairs settled. At this point assets are then distributed as directed by the deceased individual and these activities are usually conducted on behalf of the deceased person by someone serving as an executor or personal representative. It is necessary to appoint someone to administer the estate because otherwise this can lead to competing claims from different beneficiaries or confusion.

If the decedent dies with a will, the executor or personal representative is usually appointed within the will. If a decedent dies without a will, however, then the court must still appoint a personal representative to handle these responsibilities. The title of the personal representative as well as the duties and responsibilities will vary from one state to another so it is important to educate yourself as quickly as possible after discovering your role in this situation.

It is important to be informed about what is expected of you as a personal representative so that you can avoid errors, omissions, and mistakes that could expose you to personal and professional liability. In addition to handling the financial considerations of gathering all of these assets and processing the creditor claims there can be other issues to deal with by the personal representative. For example, it might not necessarily be easy to look at all of the beneficiaries or creditor claims might be contested. This is when it makes sense to retain a personal representative attorney in Nebraska.

The personal representative lawyer in Nebraska can answer your questions and can verify that the checklist or task list you have created is indeed accurate. A personal representative will be appointed by the probate office or the register of wills office that has jurisdiction over the decedent’s estate and this usually happens relatively quickly to allow that personal representative to take action.

All property must first be collected by the personal representative and then debts, taxes and expenses must be paid. At that point once the executor has completed their final accounting of verifying that all creditor claims and taxes have been dealt with, remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries of the decedent. The person’s will or state intestacy laws will determine distribution and while many executors and personal representatives perform these required tasks in a prudent manner, this is not always the case. This means that beneficiaries can also open estate litigation against a personal representative and a personal representative should certainly have legal representation to serve their interests during this time.

Administration of an estate requires the personal representative to be familiar with routine issues and to follow in accordance with standard steps to gather and distribute the decedent’s assets. For example, the personal representative should know who the beneficiaries are, if any co-fiduciaries are present, and what those beneficiaries are to receive. Probate is not always necessary but is relatively common. Make sure that you discuss your concerns with an attorney.

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