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Estate Planning Newsletter

  • Durable Powers of Attorney
    If you become incapacitated, who is supposed to make decisions for you about the management of your property or your health care? A durable power of attorney allows someone you designate to act on your behalf. It is usually included as... Read more.
  • Homicide & Estate Planning
    If a person murders a relative, is he/she entitled to receive any of the victim’s property? In most cases, the answer would be “no.” Usually, a convicted killer cannot inherit a victim’s property, even if he/she... Read more.
  • Overseas or Foreign Asset Protection Trusts
    In today’s litigious society more individuals are inquiring about asset protection planning, especially those individuals with a high risk of potential exposure to liability, such as business owners, doctors, or those involved in... Read more.
  • Estate and Income Tax Treatment of Contaminated Property
    The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) imposes liability for the investigation and cleanup of contaminated real property without regard to whether the landowner created or allowed the... 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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