Becoming a Personal Representative in DC

In the District of Columbia, an executor or administrator is referred to as a personal representative, who is the person appointed by the court to be responsible for administering the deceased person’s estate. However, whether a person is named in a will or applying independently, there are certain steps a person must follow to become a personal representative in DC. For help throughout the process, it may be beneficial to work with an experienced probate attorney who can help you make sure you are following the proper procedures.

Being Named an Executor in DC

To become a personal representative in DC, a person must be appointed by the court. That requires filling out certain pleadings, one of which is the petition to open the estate proceedings and to be appointed as the representative. An attorney can help guide a person through the process of becoming a personal representative in DC.

With a Will

If a decedent leaves a last will and testament and nominates a person to serve as a personal representative, that person would be notified. However, even if someone was nominated in a will, it does not mean they have to serve. Being nominated simply means that the person nominated would follow a relatively easy and straightforward process to get appointed.

Without a Will

If there was no will, the court will evaluate the applicant’s priority based on the order of priority. The order of priority in DC refers to a list of people who are more eligible than other people to serve as personal representative.

For example, the first person to have priority to serve in any estate would be the surviving spouse. If there is none, the next class of people with priority are the decedent’s children. If there are no children, the next class would be the decedent’s grandchildren.

What Happens When Someone Takes Over As Personal Representative?

If the personal representative named in the will does not want the responsibility, they can simply renounce their ability to serve, but they must indicate that to the court by signing a renunciation form. If a personal representative dies or resigns, the court will appoint a successor to continue the process of administering the estate. The personal representative’s duties and responsibilities do not end just because one has died or resigned.

In the event no one is willing to serve, whether it is because none of the decedent’s family wants to serve or no successor personal representative was nominated in the person’s last will and testament, the court will appoint a member of the DC fiduciary panel to serve. The official title of the new personal representative would be the successor personal representative. however, they would still be the personal representative of the estate.

Get Help Throughout the Process of Becoming a Personal Representative in DC

The process of becoming a personal representative in DC can vary based on the specific circumstances. To learn more about the process, as well as the probate process as a whole, call today for a free consultation.