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.