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Estate Planning Newsletter

  • Probate
    Probate, a Latin term meaning “to prove the will,” is a court-supervised process that settles a person’s affairs after death. To ensure that the decedent’s final matters and wishes are handled correctly... Read more.
  • Court-Imposed Transfers: Constructive Trusts
    A constructive trust is a remedy imposed by a court when a person has wrongfully attained property in an inappropriate way. The court will undo the transaction and order that title to the property go to the rightful... Read more.
  • Court-Appointed Conservators
    A “conservator” is a court-appointed individual assigned to handle the daily affairs of those who cannot care for themselves due to physical or mental limitations (the “conservatee”). Conservatorships are... Read more.
  • Filing a Death Claim When an Insured Person Dies
    The beneficiary of a life insurance policy is the person entitled to receive the death benefit of the policy when the insured person dies. In order to collect on a death benefit claim, the beneficiary must usually comply with specific... Read more.
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The Executor or Administrator of a Will

When a person dies, a personal representative must be appointed to manage and distribute the decedent’s estate.

Types of Personal Representatives

A personal representative is any of the following:

  • Executor – Someone who was chosen by the person who created the will (testator) to carry out the terms of a will after death.
  • Administrator – Someone who has been designated by the probate court to manage and/or distribute a deceased person’s estate.

Court Appointment

Other than situations where a person dies without a will (intestate), a representative may be appointed if:

  • An executor is not named in the will
  • The named executor is no longer alive
  • The named executor resigns or is incapable of handling the duties required of an executor

Standard of Care

In administering a decedent’s estate, the personal representative must exercise the same level of care that he/she would use in dealing with his/her own estate. The representative should use prudence and diligence in management of the decedent’s property.

Expenses

Personal representatives are usually reimbursed for any necessary out-of-pocket expenses. Such expenses may include:

  • Property management wages
  • Costs of attorney’s fees
  • Cost of surety bond
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Repairs made to the property

A personal representative is a fiduciary and may be personally responsible for any losses related to his/her neglect or mismanagement of a decedent’s estate.

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