When a loved one passes away it can be a shock to discover the amount of paperwork that needs to be sorted out in order to deal with that person’s estate. Under the terms of a Will the person responsible is known as the Executor but, if there is no Will the estate is dealt with under the rules of intestacy and that person is known as the Administrator.
An executor/administrator is also known as the Personal Representative of the deceased’s estate. Executors and administrators are not obliged to take on this responsibility and can choose not to accept their role if they wish. Should a personal representative wish to refuse their role, they must do so before taking up their appointment and cannot refuse the role during their appointment, as this will be considered as intermeddling.
What are the duties of a personal representative?
The fundamental duties of a personal representative include the following:
- Attending to inheritance calculation and payment of inheritance tax
- Obtaining the grant of probate/grant of letters of administration or any other relevant grant applicable to the deceased’s estate
- Collecting in the deceased’s assets
- Discharging all liabilities of the estate
- Distributing the estate in accordance with the deceased’s Will or under the intestacy rules
Should the deceased’s estate include property, it is the responsibility of the personal representative to ensure that such property is insured.
A personal representative can be held liable for mistakes, even if they are genuine errors and it is therefore vital that they understand their role and seek guidance from a probate lawyer, if necessary.
Failure by a personal representative to carry out their duties is known as a devastavit for which the personal representative is personally liable to the beneficiaries or creditors.
How we can help if you are a Personal Representative
It can be daunting for a person to take on the role of a personal representative, especially if there are a lot of assets in the deceased’s estate and a probate lawyer can be a big help.
If you are appointed as a personal representative of a deceased person’s estate and need guidance and support, please call us on 01279 295047 and we will be very happy to help you.