What Does a Personal Representative do?

After you have finalized your estate plan, there is a good chance you will have to choose someone to act as the administrator of your estate. As this is a position that comes with great responsibility, you should carefully pick your personal representative. Since this is a very involved step in the estate planning process, you should seriously consider doing some research and contacting an experienced attorney.

What are the responsibilities of your personal representative?

Your representative will begin carrying out his or her duties after your death. Although it is extremely important you pick someone you trust, you must also pick someone you know will be capable of handling these responsibilities, even in a time of grief. Some of the things a personal representative must do in order to complete the process of closing the estate are:

  • Your personal representative must first file your will with the Register of Wills. Whether the will has to go through probate or not, this should be done in the county where you resided.
  • If applicable, your personal representative must also file a petition for probate with the Orphans’ Court.
  • Your personal representative must publish a statement in the local newspaper, instructing anyone who has a claim to make against you to do so now.
  • Your representative will also have to create a record of all your beneficiaries, assets, and any other remaining creditors. He or she must also take an inventory including the assets and their appraised values.
  • He or she will have to ensure all outstanding federal, state and estate taxes are filed.
  • Your representative will have to distribute all assets to beneficiaries listed in your will.
  • Your personal representative must handle any contested matters of the asset distribution amongst heirs. 
  • Lastly, he or she will file a Certificate of Compliance to close your estate.

It is important to also keep in mind that your personal representative will have to coordinate with all parties that play a role in closing your estate. This includes attorneys, trustees, financial planners, accountants, beneficiaries and creditors. You cannot choose your personal representative lightly. He or she must be competent, trustworthy, and ready to get down to business. If you feel you could use someone to talk to regarding estate administration, it may be in your best interest to get in touch with a trustworthy attorney. He or she will help guide you through the process, one step at a time. 

Contact our Maryland firm

The attorneys at JD Katz have years of experience compassionately guiding clients in Maryland through the estate planning and administration process. Our firm also has experience with matters of elder law, business law, tax law, and litigation. For a legal team that will put your needs first, contact JD Katz today.