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What do personal representatives do during probate?

On Behalf of | May 18, 2022 | Estate Planning & Probate

When loved ones pass away in Pennsylvania it can be a difficult time in people’s lives. There is certainly a mourning period that people go through as they start their lives without the loved one’s love and support in their lives. However, while families are going through this mourning period, they must plan funerals and also go through legal matters to settle the estate of the deceased. This legal process is called probate.

Through this process the deceased’s possessions are given to their family members or other loved ones in accordance with the deceased’s Will or if there is no Will in accordance with the intestate succession laws in the state. This process is overseen by the courts who ultimately ensure that the property is distributed correctly, but the court does not physically distribute the property. That responsibility falls on the personal representative.

There are many people who are named personal representatives of an estate in the Will. This may be something that they agreed to do for the loved one years before their passing. While people may have a general idea of the role of the personal representative, many do not know all of their responsibilities until after the death. Knowing what to expect prior to the passing can be beneficial though and make the process much easier.

Duties and powers of personal representatives

Personal representatives must gather and inventory all of the deceased’s property and file the inventory with the court. They also must provide notice to creditors who may have a claim against the estate. They also have many authoritative powers to essentially step in and act as the deceased in regards to running a current business; investing assets and maintaining current investments; enforcing and maintaining contracts that the deceased was a party to; selling or leasing property of the deceased and otherwise maintain their legal obligations in a manner they see proper while the estate is being closed.

Being a personal representative in Pennsylvania is an important job. They are responsible for managing all of the deceased’s affairs while they determine the property owned by the deceased. At the end they also need to distribute the property and/or proceeds of sales of property to the beneficiaries in the Will. As one can see this can also be a very complicated job. Experienced attorneys understand the duties of personal representatives and the probate process and may be able to guide one through it.