Role Of The Personal Representative: Many Responsibilities

"A good man is hard to find" is a common expression that can apply in multiple contexts.

The celebrated writer Flannery O'Connor, for example, used it as the title for one of her stories.

But the search for a good man - or a good woman or even a good bank or trust company - is also a key estate planning decision. In this post, we will discuss the duties of the personal representative in administering an estate in Michigan.

The person or entity that serves in the role of personal representative will bear significant responsibilities. After all, the personal representative is tasked with carrying out the wishes expressed in the will of the person who has died.

The process typically starts with a nomination in the will of a personal representative. Keep in mind, however, that the person who has been nominated must meet legal requirements in order to be approved by a court. For example, a nomination of someone who is known to be in an unsound mental state would be likely to be questioned by the court.

Though Michigan uses the term "personal representative," there are comparable terms for the role in other states. These include "executor" and "administrator."

The important thing, however, is not the name but the role. It is the personal representative who must take the appropriate steps after someone's death to wrap up their estate in accordance with their expressed wishes.

These steps generally include:
• Gathering assets
• Inventorying assets
• Paying debts
• Paying taxes
• Managing and safeguarding property
• Transferring property to intended beneficiaries

In some cases, where shares of real estate must be divided, it may be necessary to get an appraisal prior to a sale. This, too, is something the personal representative is responsible for.

In short, the role of personal representative usually involves many duties. We encourage you to read our article to learn more.


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