Estate Planning Newsletter
Who Takes Care of Your Estate After You Die?
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.
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.
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.