What Is a Personal Representative?
A personal representative, also known as an executor, is a person who is responsible for managing the estate of a deceased person. The personal representative is responsible for carrying out the instructions set forth in the deceased person’s will, and for ensuring that the estate is properly administered according to the laws of the jurisdiction in which the deceased person lived. This includes tasks such as collecting the assets of the estate, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. The personal representative has a legal duty to act in the best interests of the estate and to fulfill their responsibilities in a timely and proper manner.
What Are the Duties of a Personal Representative?
Some of the main duties of a personal representative are:
- Collecting and inventorying the assets of the estate
- Paying debts and taxes owed by the estate.
- Distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries
- Filing necessary court documents, such as the will and a petition for probate (if required)
- Appearing in court and representing the estate in legal proceedings
- Keeping beneficiaries informed about the administration of the estate.
- Making decisions about the management and distribution of assets, in accordance with the terms of the will and applicable laws
- Hiring and supervising professionals, such as attorneys and accountants, as needed.
- Ensuring that the estate is properly administered and that all legal requirements are met.
How Do I Become a Personal Representative in Arizona?
When you make a will, you get to choose who will manage your estate after you pass away. This person is known as the personal representative, or the executor of your estate. It’s important to name your own personal representative in your will, as this allows you to have a say in who will handle your affairs after your death.
If the personal representative named in your will is unable or unwilling to serve, or if you pass away without a will (known as dying intestate), Arizona state law sets an order of priority for individuals who may apply to the court to be appointed as the personal representative. Just because someone is named in a will or qualifies under the state’s rules does not automatically mean they can serve as the personal representative. They must still apply to the court for Letters of Personal Representative, which gives them the authority to act in this role.
To become a personal representative in the state of Arizona, you will need to follow these steps:
- Determine if you are qualified to serve as personal representative. Under Arizona law, any adult who is not a convicted felon and who is not currently under guardianship or conservatorship may serve as personal representative.
- Determine if you have been designated as the personal representative in the deceased person’s will. If the will names you as the personal representative, you will need to present the will to the probate court and petition for probate.
- If you have not been named as the personal representative in the will, you may still be able to serve in this capacity if you are a surviving spouse, child, or other close relative of the deceased person. In this case, you will need to file a petition with the probate court to be appointed as personal representative.
- Once your petition has been filed, the court will hold a hearing to determine if you are qualified to serve as personal representative. If the court determines that you are qualified, it will issue an order appointing you as personal representative.
- After you have been appointed as personal representative, you will need to fulfill your duties as outlined in Arizona law. This may include tasks such as collecting the assets of the estate, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
Why Does a Will Need a Personal Representative?
Without a personal representative, there may not be anyone with the legal authority to manage the deceased person’s estate and carry out their instructions. This can lead to confusion and delays in the administration of the estate, as well as potential disputes among beneficiaries.
Can Senior Planning Help?
If you are involved in a probate matter, you may find it beneficial to work with a document preparer.
Document preparers are professionals who are trained to help individuals with legal matters, but cannot give legal advice. They can assist with tasks such as drafting and filing court documents, preparing legal forms, and providing general legal guidance.
There are several benefits to working with a document preparer when dealing with probate. A document preparer can help you save time by handling tasks such as drafting and filing court documents and preparing legal forms. This can be particularly helpful if you are dealing with a large or complex estate. In addition, as a licensed document preparer, Senior Planning is familiar with the requirements for probate in your jurisdiction. We can help you avoid mistakes that could delay the probate process. Hiring a document preparer is often more affordable than hiring an attorney. This can be a cost-effective option if you are dealing with a small or simple estate. Either way, it’s worth giving us a call today to see how we can help.