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Estate Planning Newsletter

  • When Your Charitable Gift Fails
    If you create an estate planning document leaving property to a charity, but after your death the transfer cannot occur, the court may apply the cy pres rule. The words “cy pres” are French for “as near.”... Read more.
  • The Passing of Assets to Named Beneficiaries from a Totten Trust
    A decedent’s assets may be transferred upon their death to their heirs or other beneficiaries through probate. “Probate” is the legal process by which a court determines who receives a decedent’s assets under... Read more.
  • The Charitable Deduction for Non-Resident Aliens
    Taxpayers who make contributions to qualified charitable organizations are entitled to a tax benefit in the form of a charitable deduction on their income taxes. However, the issue becomes more complex when a non-U.S. citizen makes a... Read more.
  • Marital Deductions & Non-Citizen Spouses
    A QDOT is a specific type of marital deduction trust that is designed to ensure that non-citizen spouses will eventually pay any taxes that may be due upon distribution of the principal from the trust, even if the surviving spouse... Read more.
Estate Planning News Links

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.

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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