Responsibilities of a Personal Representative in DC
If a person decides to petition the probate court in DC to be appointed as personal representative, they should expect to have many responsibilities when administering the estate. For example, they are responsible for making court filings in a timely fashion, protecting the assets of the estate, and making sure those assets are managed properly before distribution is made to the beneficiaries.
An attorney can further explain the responsibilities of a personal representative in DC. A well-versed lawyer can then guide the representative through the process to help them make sure they are fulfilling their duties.
What Are the Duties of a Personal Representative in DC?
The role of the personal representative in DC has many duties in administering an estate. The first duty is to ensure that all required filings with the court are made in a timely fashion. In general, the person must identify all the estate assets titled in the decedent’s name. Once those are identified, the representative must collect or marshal all of them. That entails closing accounts that are under the decedent’s full name and transferring the funds into an estate account. That way, all of the estate assets are in one place and in the name of the estate, as opposed to under the decedent’s name and personal social security number.
Once all estate assets are collected, the personal representative is then responsible for providing all interested persons the date-of-death value of all the assets. Depending on the type of administration, the inventory will either get filed with the court or will just be provided to the interested persons so they understand the value of the estate.
After the values are reported, the representative is responsible for making sure the decedent’s taxes have been filed and are paid, and that they are paid from estate assets, not personally paid for by the personal representative. They also are responsible for making sure all legally enforceable debts are paid. Once all taxes and debts have been paid, their responsibility is to distribute either to the beneficiaries of the estate under the will or to the beneficiaries pursuant to the laws of intestacy if there is no will.
The Time Commitment
The time commitment for being a personal representative in a probate process can vary depending on the circumstances of the estate. For example, in a case with a relatively small estate with few assets, a personal representative may have an easier time marshaling the assets and starting the process of paying debts and making distributions. In an estate with a lot of assets that are in different jurisdictions, it will require more time to marshal the assets before the paying off debts and the distribution process can begin, and therefore the time commitment will be longer.
In theory, there are no financial responsibilities for a personal representative because a personal representative is not financially responsible for paying the decedent’s debts or beneficiaries from personal funds. However, the representative may have to pay certain out-of-pocket costs prior to being reimbursed from estate funds. For example, in order to petition the court to open an estate and be appointed personal representative, the personal representative will have to pay a filing fee or a court cost to make that filing and open the estate. That type of expense is an administration expense and is the first type of a debt that would be paid from estate assets.
Learn More About the Responsibilities of a Personal Representative in DC
There is no deadline for a personal representative to hire or seek counsel from a probate lawyer. However, it is a good idea to seek counsel from an attorney with experience with the administration process in DC. An attorney can explain the responsibilities of a personal representative in DC. Call today for a consultation to learn more.