Do You Really Want to be A Personal Representative In a Probate Estate?
Do you really want to be a personal representative in a probate estate? Often it not much of a choice because of a family member or close friend. It’s good to have an understanding of the probate process before you undertake that endeavor. Most people are blissfully unaware of all that’s needed to undertake and settle an estate in probate. The Court normally through a will or application appoints a the person authorized to settle the estate. That person is called by many names across the country, but in Missouri the common term “Personal Representative” is often used. Sometimes the “decedent” (dead person) doesn’t have a will and the Court will appoint one by application a/k/a “Petition.”
Upon appointment the Personal Representative duties include collecting, securing, and inventorying the assets of the estate. Potential heirs and creditors must be notified. Most of these duties the appointed person spends his/her own money to initiate. The Personal Representative is responsible for paying taxes and debts. Lastly the Personal Representative files a final accounting, including receipts and other documents before the Court discharges them of their duties. My point is a curious one. Why would anyone want to go through the probate process? The burden on the living is enough. I’m interested in your thoughts!