What Does It Mean to Be the Personal Representative of an Estate?
If a Texas resident passes away, whether or not they left a will, the authority to oversee the administration of the estate lies with the Texas probate court located where the deceased resided or where the decedent owned real estate. The personal representative of the estate is the person responsible for managing the estate through the probate process.
Who can serve as a personal representative?
A personal representative may be a professional, such as the decedent's estate planning attorney, or a family member or friend. People who have been selected as the personal representative of an estate who are not attorneys usually seek the advice of an experienced probate lawyer to explain the duties they must uphold and the tasks to do in managing and distributing the estate.
In cases where the decedent left a will, the personal representative is usually named in the will as the executor or executrix. If there is no will, any interested party can petition the probate court to ask for the right to become the personal representative of the estate. Most often, a person who is the next of kin of the decedent take on this responsibility.
What does a personal representative do?
A personal representative must complete a number of tasks, regardless whether named as executor in the will or appointed upon petition to the probate court. One of the most important early steps is to take an inventory and protect the assets of the estate, which may include property such as:
- Bank accounts
- Real estate
- Life insurance proceeds, if payable to the estate
- Retirement accounts
- Vehicles titled in the deceased's name
If you have never handled an estate before and are unfamiliar with the probate process, the duties of personal representative can be intimidating, particularly if the estate or family is large. An experienced probate attorney can explain the process and prepare the paperwork you need to move the estate through probate as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The attorneys at the Peterson Law Group are experienced in handling estates of all sizes and are here to assist you at any time. If you need help administering an estate, contact an experienced Bryan, Texas estate planning attorney at the Peterson Law Group. Call us today at 979-703-7014 to schedule a consultation.