A personal representative, otherwise known as an “executor” of a will is responsible for overseeing the assets and estate of a person who has passed.
This responsibility can be taken if it has been specified in the decedent’s will or if all the beneficiaries agree on the candidate. However, the candidate must still petition the court to be appointed as the personal representative.
Once appointed by a court, the personal representative is responsible for:
- Settling the decedent’s estate (accounting for and collecting assets)
- An inventory of the estate must be made within three months of being appointed as the personal representative
- Overseeing estate assets during the probate process
- Notifying the Washington Department of Social & Health Services
- Notifying the beneficiaries and heirs of being appointed as the personal representative of the estate
- Distributing assets in accordance with the will
- Distributing assets by right of representation under Washington law (if there is no will)
- Collecting all debts due to the decedent and paying bills or creditors of the estate
- Maintaining the estate
- Gathering and reviewing the decedent’s will, income tax returns, life insurance, bank statements, and trust documents
- Proceeding through the probate process as quickly, efficiently and sensibly as possible
These are just a few of the duties the personal representative of a will needs to manage under Washington law.
If you are considering taking on the responsibility of a personal representative after the death of a loved one, contact an estate attorney for help. A lawyer can help you organize and document finances and assets to make sure nothing is overlooked during this difficult time.