What are the duties of a personal representative?
  • To determine if the decedent had a will. If they did, copies must be given to the beneficiaries. A hearing must be conducted so the Judge can determine whether the will is valid.
  • Gather the estate’s assets and determine what they are worth. This includes checking the decedent’s safety deposit box; determining what, if any, insurance, social security, pension, veterans or other benefits are payable to the estate or its beneficiaries; and obtaining appraisals, if necessary. Within 91 days of being appointed, the personal representative in supervised administration is required to file an Inventory with the Court listing all the decedent’s assets. For unsupervised administration, the personal representative must provide all interested persons with an Inventory within 91 days.
  • Give notice to the decedent’s creditors. This must be published in a legal newspaper; if you know of particular creditors of the decedent, they must be given actual notice. You must determine what creditors’ claims, if any, should be paid.
  • The estate’s assets must be preserved and distributed to the heirs according to the will, or if none, by the laws of intestate succession. If you improperly distribute assets without leaving enough in the estate to pay taxes, you may be personally responsible for coming up with the difference.
  • The personal representative must keep careful records of all income of the estate and all disbursements of the estate’s funds. The personal representative must keep the estate’s assets separate and never “borrow” from them.
  • In supervised administration, file an annual Account each year within 56 days of the anniversary date of the personal representative’s appointment and a Final Account when the estate is closed. The Account must list receipts (monies in) and disbursements (monies out). Save your receipts; one must be presented to the Court for each disbursement. In unsupervised administration the Accounts do not have to be filed with the Court, but they must still be served on interested persons.
  • Ensure that all taxes on the estate are paid. You must also see that the decedent’s final federal, state and city income taxes are paid and the returns filed.

Show All Answers

1. What are the filing fees?
2. When is it necessary to open an estate for a decedent?
3. What are the different types of estates?
4. How is a personal representative appointed?
5. What are the duties of a personal representative?
6. When may a personal representative be removed?
7. Do I have to serve as personal representative if I am nominated in the decedent's will?
8. Can I receive payment for serving as personal representative?
9. Can I hire a lawyer or other professionals to help me administer the estate?
10. Do I need an attorney?