A personal representative is a person who has received “letters” from the court that give them authorization to manage the estate of a decedent. If the decedent had a will, the will usually nominates a person to serve as the personal representative, who also referred to as the executor. If there is no will, then it is typically the surviving spouse or other close family who petitions the court to be appointed the personal administrator. Whether it is the person named in the will or someone else, the person must receive approval from the District Court to be formally appointed as personal representative to have legal authority to act on behalf of the estate. Once the court approves appointment, they will be issued “letters” of administration and they must take an oath.
Duties and Responsibilities
Upon receiving “letters”, which is an order of the court giving the personal representative authority to represent an estate, the personal representative must move forward expeditiously to perform the many activities required to settle the estate. The major tasks include taking control of and inventorying the estate, notifying creditors and paying estate debt, and transferring assets to the new owners.
Taking control of and inventorying the estate. With letters in hand, the personal representative has authority to take control of estate assets and manage them. The personal representative is also required to create an inventory of estate assets and file it with the District Court. It must be filed within 60 days of the beginning of probate. Within 10 days of filing the inventory with the court, the personal representative must serve all interested parties with a copy of the Inventory. NRS § 144.010. Failing to file the inventory with the court is serious. It is so serious that the court has the power to remove the personal representative for failure to file it within 60 days. NRS § 144.080
The Inventory must list every asset of the estate with a value of $500 or more, and for each asset, the following information must be provided:
- Description. If the asset is a financial account, the description would include the name of the financial institution and the last four digits of the account number.
- Encumbrances. If an asset has an encumbrance, it must be listed and the balance owed. A mortgage is an example of an encumbrance.
- Estate’s interest in the asset. If the decedent owned an interest in an asset, the percentage of the interest must be listed.
- Value. The value of each asset as of the date of the decedent’s death must listed. If necessary, the personal representative can hire professional appraisers to determine the value.
NRS § 144.040
Notifying creditors and paying debt. One of the primary purposes of estate administration is to make sure that the decedent’s debts are paid. It is up to the personal representative to notify creditors. For unknown creditors, notification must be made by publication. For known creditors, notification must be made by mail. NRS § 147.010. Depending on the value of the estate, creditors have up to 60 or 90 days after notification to file claims.
Distributing assets. Before distributing assets, the personal representative is required to petition the District Court for permission by filing a request for the distribution of the estate. Upon approval, the personal representative must distribute assets according to the terms of the will. If there is no will, according to Nevada’s rules of intestate succession. NRS § 151.080
Compensation of Personal Representative
Even though the personal representative is often a family member, they are not required to do the work without compensation. They are compensated based on the value of the estate as follows:
- 4% of the first $15,000
- 3% of the next $85,000
- 2% of everything above $100,000
Further compensation may be allowed by the Court for “extraordinary services.” Such as
- Managing, selling, or mortgaging property
- Handling probate litigation
- Managing complicated tax issues
- Carrying on the decedent’s business pursuant to an order of the court
- Managing such other special services as may be necessary for the personal representative to complete their responsibilities of settling the estate
NRS § 150.030