Articles Posted in Personal Representative

Do you store pictures online? Have a Facebook account? Keep documents in the Cloud? Or use online accounts to maintain certain aspects of your life? If so, you should be aware that earlier this month Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law a bill that could impact what happens to those digital assets after your death.

The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) is designed to make sure you control what happens to your digital property after you pass away. The law addresses concerns that online accounts containing assets of personal significance or even monetary value may be simply deleted upon a person’s death, or that loved ones will be refused access to digital property.

Oregon’s Karen Williams faced this dilemma while grieving the loss of her 22-year-old son, Loren in 2007. She revisted memories of his life by accessing his Facebook account, where he kept pictures and stories. When Facebook learned of his death, however, the company changed the password, denying her access, and sparking a lawsuit over control of his property. Ultimately, she won a court order, but as Associated Press reported, “she never received the full access she sought.” The account was subsequently deleted.

Recently, attorney Jim Higgins stopped by Nashville’s NewsChannel 5 Talk of the Town Extra to discuss some steps to take when meeting with a Tennessee probate attorney after a death. When a person passes away, you may not exactly know where to turn next. If you have been nominated as an executor of an estate, you understandably may feel overwhelmed with so much to do. Often an estate will need to go through the probate court to ensure that creditors are paid and assets are distributed. A Tennessee probate attorney can help you through the probate process. The video below discusses what steps should be taken when meeting with a Tennessee probate attorney after a death. If you have any further questions regarding the probate process in Tennessee, contact the Nashville probate lawyers at The Higgins Firm.

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So you have just been appointed to be the personal representative of an estate? You may be wondering, “What in the world is that, and what do I do?” There’s no need to worry. We will outline what a personal representative is exactly and what duties that they have.

A personal representative, also known as an executor/executrix or administrator in some jurisdictions, manages the affairs of a person’s estate upon their death. There are certain duties that the personal representative must adhere to as apart of the position. Specifically, the personal representative has fiduciary duties that he or she must follow. While these duties do not require absolute perfection in the administration of the estate, it does demand absolute loyalty, honesty, and disclosure. Breaching these duties may result in the personal representative being held personally responsible for any damages or losses from the breach.

Acting as a personal representative requires a duty of loyalty to the estate and its beneficiaries. You are required to act in the interests of the estate. Any type of self-dealing that hurts the estate is prohibited. You also have the duty to act prudently as a personal representative. In other words, you must exercise reasonable care and administer the estate in a diligent manner. You should not place the assets in high-risk investments.

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