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Facts about personal representatives in probate

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2021 | Probate

Who is a personal representative when it comes to probate? In South Carolina, is this the same as an executor? What are some of their duties during probate proceedings? Read on to find out.

Who is a personal representative?

A personal representative, usually referred to as the executor or administrator in probate proceedings because the terms are interchangeable, is a person named by someone’s will to handle their affairs, including the distribution of assets. This person becomes responsible for carrying out final wishes and resolving any legal issues that come up in regard to the property or other possessions not covered by a will.

What are the duties of a personal representative in probate?

The duties of the personal representative depend on both the size and complexity of the estate. In general, they include gathering information about assets, locating heirs, notifying creditors about the probate proceeding, making claims on property that’s owed to the estate, paying debts of the deceased person and distributing assets to beneficiaries.

In an average probate proceeding, a representative would need to collect assets from the home and bank account of the deceased person and list all assets in a final accounting report to submit to court after paying debts and legal claims against the estate. They may also file tax returns on behalf of the decedent for income paid during their lifetime but not yet reported, pay any taxes owed, value assets for the purpose of estate distribution and distribute assets to beneficiaries. A personal representative is not allowed by law to transfer or otherwise possessively hold onto property belonging to someone else who died without leaving instructions concerning its administration.

Probate proceedings can be a lengthy process. Luckily, personal representatives are there to ensure that the process is easier and efficient.