Important Tips for a Personal Representative
Have you been selected as the personal representative of someone’s estate? Here are some tips to help you handle the job effectively.
- Get copies of the death certificate ASAP: As soon as you’re able, get copies of the death certificate. You’re going to need them if you are responsible for making funeral and burial arrangements, and you certainly will need them for notifying banks and creditors of the death, and for dealing with insurance companies, the Social Security Administration, the IRS and the VA.
- Locate the estate planning documents: Hopefully you will already have been told where you’ll be able to find the will or trust documents. If you’re unable to find them, you can get in touch with the deceased’s attorney, who is like to have a copy on file at their office as well.
- Locate the assets: It can be helpful if the deceased leaves behind a list of all assets and where to locate them, otherwise you’ll need to create an inventory yourself. Have a talk with the person whose estate you are representing before they pass away about including an asset list with their estate planning paperwork.
- Pay off all debts: As the personal representative, you are responsible for paying off all bills and taxes out of the estate assets that you find. It’s best to seek professional advice and assistance in this—it can be particularly helpful for more complicated estates with a lot of assets and liabilities. It is best to open a bank account in the name of the estate or trust to handle all of its affairs.
- Take your time: It can be tempting to want to get the process over with as soon as possible, but what’s more important is that you complete it accurately and diligently.
For more information about serving as a personal representative, contact an experienced Tampa, FL estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.