The main reason people create a will in Pennsylvania is to ensure that their assets and possessions go to the people that they want to have them when they pass away. However, the will simply states people’s wishes. Someone who is still living must ensure that the possessions actually end up with the proper people. This job generally is the responsibility of the personal representative or Executor/Executrix.
The personal representative has many responsibilities. It is not always a simple and straightforward task to ensure the beneficiaries receive what was given to them in the will. To achieve this goal personal representatives have many different duties.
Responsibilities of personal representatives
These responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Inventory and value of all assets, property and possessions
- Taking possession of any real estate owned by the decedent
- Continuing a business or voting stock
- Investing assets
- Initiating lawsuits or defending against them
- Selling or leasing personal property
- Paying debts owed at the time of death
- Paying funeral costs
These are important responsibilities and some of them can be complicated. When people are choosing who they want to be their personal representative, it is important to keep these responsibilities in mind. People need to choose a person who will be capable of carrying out the required duties of the personal representative. It may not always be a family member they are closest to though and it can be a tough decision.
There are important aspects of an estate plan in Pennsylvania beyond simply deciding the people that will receive one’s property. Being able to take care of loved ones after one’s death is certainly the main goal, but having people in place to make sure that occurs is just as important. People need to really think about who the personal representative will be and make sure it is someone who is both willing and able to carry out all of the responsibilities. Experienced attorneys understand the estate planning process and may be able to guide one through it.