What are a personal representative's responsibilities?
Question Details: A friend asked me to be her personal representative and now she has died, I have been told that I have to notify her existing family of her death because she had no siblings. Is that so?
The personal representative "manages" the estate, including paying any claims against it, and seeing to the distribution of assets. The PR has to carry out the deceased's wishes about burial or organ donation; notify potential heirs (those who may inherit); find all the assets (money in the bank, vehicles, investments, real estate, etc.); submit claims for life insurance; notify (in the proper way set by your state) creditors of the deceased that they passed away and can submit claims against the estate; pay any unpaid final expenses (e.g. funeral home); do the paperwork to probate the estate (or if it's sufficiently small an estate, do whatever alternative is provided in your state for small estates); pay any claims allowed against the estate; take actions or pay amounts necessary to preserve assets pending resoluation of the estate (e.g. pay insurance, taxes, etc. for real estate; have repairs made to houses so they don't continue to deteriorate); then at the end, distribute any remaining money or assets to the heirs and beneficiaries. The PR does NOT have to spend his or her own money doing this, but uses estate funds for any expenes, etc.
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