How To Work Alongside A Personal Representative

After the death of a loved one, things can often feel harried and confusing. Regardless of how prepared or unprepared you may have been, the death of a loved one always holds the potential for things to feel surreal and uncertain. That's why loved ones need to both lean on and deal carefully with the estate's personal representative. To find out more about how to successfully work alongside the personal representative, read on.

What Happens First?

The will should be located and presented to a probate lawyer in the county where the deceased resided. The will usually states who the deceased wants to have as the personal representative of the estate. The probate court, as one of their primary tasks once the will is filed, will approve of the personal representative and issue what are sometimes called Letters Testamentary.

Understanding the Personal Representative's Role

In many cases, the personal representative is a member of the family. They can, however, also be trusted friends of the deceased, a lawyer, and even a business acquaintance. The personal representative must work with the probate lawyer, the probate court, and the family to perform their duties. However, they are bound by law to do as the probate court orders. In some cases, that can mean going against what the family wants.

On the other hand, whether the personal representative is a member of the family or not, they should keep the family's wishes in mind as they make decisions. They should always update family members about the probate court rulings and when the probate lawyer assigns a task to them. For example, if the probate court orders that an inventory of the estate be performed, the personal representative should work under the instructions of the probate lawyer and with the knowledge of the family. This task is an important one because it lets the probate court know what is at stake with the estate as far as the value of it goes. This is also a tax issue for the court.

What the Personal Representative Should Not Do

People in this position can run afoul of the law easily if they are not careful. They cannot, for instance, use their position as the personal representative of the estate to enhance their own inheritance potential or to take estate property as their own unfairly. If you suspect this is happening with your loved one's estate, contact the probate lawyer immediately.

To learn more about the role of the personal representative, speak to a probate law specialist.