Personal Representative Expectations in DC Probate Cases

Personal Representatives in probate cases should expect that family members or other beneficiaries probably have not gone through the probate process before and therefore may not understand all of the requirements and obligations the representative has with respect to estate administration.

Personal representative expectations in DC probate cases can include the process of handling another’s estate. Beneficiaries may not understand why the process is taking longer than they may have anticipated and may not understand the representative’s role.

It is common for beneficiaries to think that a Personal Representative is trying to take over and take all of the estate assets, but they are not automatically entitled to receive assets the beneficiaries view as theirs.

Who is Considered an Heir of the Deceased?

All heirs of a decedent, whether or not they are named in a person’s will, are considered to be interested persons of the estate. They include a person’s spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, and nieces and nephews. Generally, heirs are family members along family lines.

Likelihood of Having More Than One Personal Representative

There are circumstances in DC in which there may be more than one Personal Representative handing an estate. One is when a decedent has left a last will and testament specifying more than one person to serve as a representative.

Another would be even if there is no last will and testament, two people who have equal priority to serve as Personal Representative and both petition the court to serve as co-Personal Representatives. The court could appoint them to serve as co-Personal Representatives.

Expected Timeline of the Probate Process

The timeline is part of one of the many personal representative expectations in DC probate cases an individual should be aware of. The probate process would be accelerated in a case where there are few estate assets and a Personal Representative is able to collect the assets in a time-efficient fashion to make distributions once the claims period has expired. If there are no claims to handle, an estate potentially could be opened and closed in less than a year. Another factor that could make the process slow down is lots of claims that have been filed against the estate that may need to be litigated based on their validity. Disputes among the decedent’s family or heirs can lead to significant delays and expense for the estate.

Preparing to be a Personal Representative in DC Probate Cases

Personal Representatives should be prepared for some frustrations in handling an estate in DC. Sometimes, the court will require additional information or additional documentation before appointing the representative, depending on the circumstances of a given case. That could mean the potential representative would have to go to the court on more than one occasion just to get appointed.

In addition, dealing with grieving family members or family dynamics can be challenging for a Personal Representative. That is an area in which an attorney can be helpful because they will be familiar with some of the specifics or specific information the court may require. Speak with an established probate attorney to learn more about potential personal representative expectations in DC probate cases.