The Personal Representative (sometimes called the Executor or Administrator) appointed by the court is responsible for carrying out the administration of a loved one’s estate. Since the Personal Representative will be handling money and assets for someone else (i.e. the decedent, the beneficiaries, the heirs, and potential creditors of the estate) he or she is acting and serving in a fiduciary role and is therefore held to a very high standard of responsibility and trust.
The process of estate or trust administration includes taking possession and control of estate assets, filing an inventory of the assets, paying the debts of the decedent, filing personal, inheritance and estate tax returns, and filing an accounting itemizing and documenting all receipts, disbursements, and distributions of the assets. The attorneys at American Wills & Estates have been handling all aspects of the probate estate administration process for clients throughout Western Pennsylvania for over 25 years.
We can also assist you with all aspects of trust administration. If the decedent had a Revocable Living Trust, a Testamentary Trust (created by the Last Will and Testament), or any other type of trust, it must still be administered in much the same manner in which a regular estate would be administered. The trustee of the trust is responsible for taking possession and control of trust assets, paying debts associated with the trust and estate, filing tax returns, and may also be responsible for providing accountings itemizing and documenting all receipts, disbursements, and distributions of the trust assets.
While it is certainly an honor to be named as the Personal Representative or Trustee of a loved one’s estate or trust, keep in mind that it is an obligation and a job as well. You will have a fiduciary obligation and duty to the heirs that will require that you act in a diligent, responsible and informed manner. Should you stray from duties, you could be held personally liable for any errors or mistakes that you may make during the administration process. This is probably the single biggest reason to seek out and find skilled legal advice.
Hope this article helps. If you have further questions or we can be of further assistance to either you or your family, please give us a call today at (412) 381-7370 or visit us online at www.americanwillsandestates.com . We’ve been assisting clients throughout Western Pennsylvania through the estate and trust administration process with competency, compassion and care for over 25 years. We offer free legal consultations and home, hospital and office visits are available upon request.