The personal representative of an estate is the person tasked with handling the probate of an estate of a decedent.
Who Can Become a Personal Representative of an Estate?
In Maryland, persons over the age of eighteen, who are mentally competent, and who have not been convicted of a serious crime are generally eligible to be considered for declaration as the personal representative of an estate. If a person is not a citizen of the United States, they may be the personal representative of an estate if they are a permanent resident and are the spouse, ancestor, descendant, or sibling of the decedent.
What Does a Personal Representative of an Estate Do?
Acting as the personal representative of an estate can involve significant work depending on the complexity of the estate. Paperwork to open and administer the estate will be filed with the Register of Wills and, following appointment as the personal representative, significant tasks are to be undertaken.
The personal representative of an estate may be tasked with communicating with family members, business entities, lawyers, accountants or tax preparers, and investment advisors. The personal representative will likely need to address the obligations of the estate including credit cards, utility invoices, and obligations to banks or other creditors. A personal representative will identify the decedent’s assets including real property, vehicles, stock and investment holdings, bank accounts, retirement, and other assets. These tasks can be difficult and time-consuming.
What Happens to the Decedent’s Estate?
The assets of the estate will be valued and, in certain circumstances, an appraisal may be required. If the estate is open for any significant period of time, the personal representative will undertake the management of estate assets while the estate is open.
Depending on the resources of the estate, the personal representative may need to file required tax returns for the decedent and the estate. The personal representative will be tasked with accounting for the use of estate assets and the payment of estate obligations. Lastly, the personal representative will facilitate the distribution of the estate assets, if any. Depending on the complexity of an estate, a personal representative may have to perform additional duties.
As the above list of potential tasks illustrates, the duties of a personal representative can be time-consuming and complex. If you have been asked to serve as a personal representative, or need help with fulfilling your duties as a personal representative, contact the lawyers at Andalman & Flynn in Maryland for help. If you need help with any of a variety of other legal matters, the attorneys at Andalman & Flynn are here. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at 301-563-6685.