What are some responsibilities of a personal representative?

| Mar 2, 2021 | estate planning

Upon your death, your personal representative files your will with the probate court so that your assets transfer to your intended beneficiaries. If you create a valid will, Washington State law requires it to go through the probate process within 40 days after your death. 

Probate has several steps that your personal representative carries out, including notifying your beneficiaries. As described by CNBC, he or she generally has the responsibility of distributing your assets, paying taxes and resolving any remaining debts. 

When does a personal representative sell my property?

If you die with a mortgage on your home, your personal representative may need to pay the remaining balance before transferring the title to your heir. Because of the complexities involved with selling a property, you may wish to name an individual who has some experience with real estate. 

Your house may need a professional appraisal before placing it on the market for sale. Your personal representative generally has the responsibility for repairs, clean-outs and readying the home for a potential buyer. When the house sells, the proceeds become part of your estate, which your representative may use to pay your debts and taxes. 

How do assets transfer to heirs or beneficiaries?

The purpose of a will is to legally transfer your property to the individuals or organizations that you choose to receive them. Without a valid will, however, your assets may instead pass to a lawful heir, such as your living spouse or children. If these individuals predecease you, the court may search for another lawful relative, such as a parent or sibling. 

When you intend for your assets to transfer to a specific beneficiary, you may list that intent in your will. During the probate process, your personal representative works with the court to transfer the titles of your assets to your chosen beneficiary.