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What are a personal representative’s responsibilities in probate?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2022 | Probate

It is important for people in Texas to have wills so their property and possessions go to the people that they want to have it after they pass away. However, the will simply states the wishes of the decedent on a piece of paper. The will itself does not actually transfer the property and possessions to the beneficiaries of the will. The wishes of the decedent as stated in the will must be carried out by the personal representative in the probate process.

Probate is the court proceeding which oversees the administration of the estate. One of the first aspects of the probate process is to appoint a personal representative to administer the estate. This personal representative appointed is usually the person or people named in the will to be the personal representative, but the personal representative must still be appointed by the judge governing the probate.

Responsibilities of a personal representative

Once the personal representative is appointed, one of their first responsibilities is to take possession of all of the decedent’s property. In addition to gathering the property, the personal representative may also need to make payments to the decedent’s spouse or children for their day-to-day needs.

Personal representatives also need to publish a notice to the creditors notifying that they must make any claims against the estate within 120 days. After they receive the claims of creditors, they must inventory and appraise all of the property of the estate and list the debts the estate will owe. They then must pay the valid debts and distribute the remaining property to the proper beneficiaries.

Personal representatives in Texas have a very important role in the probate process. They basically must carry out the wishes of the decedent as stated in the will. This process can be complicated though depending on the amount and types of assets of the estate. There are also other responsibilities that may arise while they are going through the probate process besides simply gathering and distributing assets and paying debts. Experienced attorneys understand all of the responsibilities of a personal representative and may be able to guide one through the probate process.