Becoming a Personal Representative in Bethesda

Often, an individual may not be aware that they are entitled to serve or have priority to serve as the Personal Representative of an estate or that they are named in a decedent’s last will and testament to do so. Instead, they may be notified of this fact upon the individual’s death by a loved one.

When faced with this task, it will be helpful for you to have the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer as soon as you begin the process of becoming a personal representative in Bethesda and begin the estate planning process.


A Personal Representative must be over the age of 18, must be a US legal resident or a US citizen, must not have committed any serious prior crimes, and must have the capacity to serve in that fiduciary role. Generally, an individual who meets these conditions and who is responsible, detail-oriented, and trustworthy is suitable to serve as a Personal Representative in Bethesda.

Order of Priority

If an individual does not name a Personal Representative in their last will and testament, the order of priority provided by Maryland law will generally dictate which individual or individuals have priority to serve as Personal Representative. While the order of priority is based on lineal bloodline, it is important to note that it may also include the creditors of an estate. For example, the largest known creditors of the estate may have the opportunity to serve as the Personal Representative of the estate in Bethesda.

When an individual does not want to serve as Personal Representative of an estate, they can renounce their right to serve and allow somebody else to serve in their stead prior to the opening of the estate.

Marshaling the Assets

An executor is often another term for a Personal Representative in Bethesda. Many states have different terms for this role. Essentially, an executor and a Personal Representative are going to be one and the same in Bethesda. As such, a Personal Representative is tasked with marshaling the assets of the estate, paying any legally enforceable debts, filing all tax returns, and making distributions pursuant to the last will and testament or the laws of intestacy.

Generally, there are two means by which an individual may become an executor. They are either named in the decedent’s last will and testament to serve in Bethesda, or they have priority to serve according to the Maryland laws of intestacy.

However, it is important to note that simply because an individual is named or has priority to serve as executor does not mean that they have the authority to act on behalf of the estate. Instead, they must petition the court for the authority to serve. Such an individual may then only serve as executor of the estate if the court approves their petition and grants a Letter of an Administration, a document that serves as the executor’s authority to act on behalf of the estate.