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Sacramento Probate Lawyer: On the Duties of a Personal Representative

Published by Trudy Nearn on May 29, 2014

Estate planning is a task best carried out with the assistance of a dependable estate planning and administration attorney. Some people, however, die intestate or without ever creating a will and naming heirs and beneficiaries. In any case, an estate with assets of $150,000 or more held solely in the owner’s name goes into probate upon his or her passing and is subject to state laws.

Subsequently, it falls upon a probate personal representative (whether named in the will or appointed by the court) to oversee the distribution of inheritance property among heirs. Real estate investor and Yahoo! contributor Simon Volkov defines the probate personal representative as someone who settles the deceased person’s estate. Volkov further outlines the tasks such a representative must accomplish, following a consultation with a seasoned Sacramento probate lawyer, as follows:

"Common duties of probate representatives include: obtaining property appraisals for valuable items such as real estate, automobiles, and personal belongings such as jewelry or antiques; pay outstanding debts; and distribute assets to designated beneficiaries upon estate settlement.

Probate executors receive compensation for estate management duties. Fees are determined based on state probate laws. Some states calculate fees at an hourly wage, while others allow estate administrators to charge a flat fee or percentage of the estate value.

Estate executors can give up compensation for their services if desired. However, probate can extend for months or years and require innumerable hours of work. It is not uncommon for probate representatives to spend over 100 hours in estate settlement procedures.

Although it can be uncomfortable to request compensation to manage a loved one's estate, the estate administrator provides an invaluable service that can be emotionally difficult and time consuming to deal with."

One important characteristic every probate representative or executor should possess is the ability to remain unbiased as regards the distribution of estate. After all, the executor must help resolve disputes that take place in the probate court. Consequently, being named a probate representative is a grave responsibility that requires patience and commitment.

The probate process can take years to resolve, particularly if the will is contested or if claims against the estate are submitted. To ensure that everything proceeds as smoothly as possible and with minimal delays, it would be wise for any probate personal representative to seek the counsel of an experienced Sacramento probate attorney from a reputable firm like Generations. Such an attorney will file all the necessary documents and help clients resolve disputes or claims.

(Source: Probate Personal Representative and Estate Management Duties, Yahoo! Voices, 30 August, 2010)

Category: Info Articles

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