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What does an estate representative do?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2021 | Wills & Estates

If you have assets in your Pennsylvania estate at the time of your death, they will likely be subject to probate. This means that a judge will need to verify that your will is valid and that it accurately conveys your final instructions. Within the document, you can appoint someone to represent your estate during probate.

Any adult of sound mind can be your estate’s representative

Although any legal adult of sound mind can serve as the executor of your estate, it’s important to think carefully about appointing someone to act in this capacity. Ideally, your executor will have no problem following directions and have good interpersonal skills. Furthermore, this person will need to dedicate the time it will take to settle your affairs properly. In some cases, probate can take a full year to get through.

What does the executor do?

The estate representative is tasked with inventorying assets, evaluating creditor claims and contacting beneficiaries. This person is also tasked with defending the estate against challenges made by those claiming to be beneficiaries. It’s worth noting that an estate administration attorney may be able to assist an executor during the course of a will challenge.

The executor is responsible for paying bills and transferring assets

An estate representative must pay your final bills, file a tax return and take other steps to settle any balances outstanding at the time of your death. This must be done before any assets are distributed, and the funds for these payments must come from the estate itself. If there isn’t enough money to pay a creditor in full, that creditor must generally take a loss.

Appointing an estate representative is likely to be one of the most important decisions that you’ll make during the estate planning process. Ideally, you’ll have regular conversations with this person to ensure that he or she understands your goals and desires. It may also be a good idea to appoint a second representative in case your first choice is unable to serve for any reason.