What are the main duties of a personal representative?

The main tasks of a Personal Representative are to:

  1. determine if there are any probate assets;
  2. identify, gather, and inventory the assets of the deceased;
  3. receive payments due the estate, including interest, dividends, and other income (e.g., unpaid salary, vacation pay, and other company benefits);
  4. set up a checking account for the estate;
  5. figure out who is going to get what and how much under the Will (if there is no Will, the state’s “interstate succession laws” apply);
  6. value or appraise the estate’s assets;
  7. give legal notice to potential creditors (the procedure and deadlines for creditors to file claims vary from state-to-state);
  8. investigate the validity of all claims against the estate;
  9. pay funeral bills, outstanding debts, and valid claims;
  10. pay the expenses of administrating the estate;
  11. handle various paperwork, such as discontinuing utilities and charge cards, and notifying Social Security, Civil Service, and Veterans Administration of the death;
  12. file and pay income and estate taxes;
  13. distribute the remaining property in accordance with the instructions provided in the deceased’s Will; and
  14. close probate.