A personal representative (or executor) is appointed and certified by the probate court to oversee certain important estate duties during probate. As a loved one, you must both cooperate and monitor the personal representative as they perform their tasks. For some tips on doing that, read on.
Making the Process Smoother
You can do a lot to make sure that the probate process is successful no matter how complex the estate might be. Take the below steps to ensure that probate goes by quickly and without incident.
Be Open and Available
Many personal representatives are taking on a job that they previously never thought about. Let them know that you are not only open to helping them with any estate issues but that you expect to be kept updated on the progress of the estate.
Just because someone else is taking care of estate matters doesn't mean that you should not also keep good records. Doing so provides you with hard copies of estate paperwork that may be useful should you have a disagreement with the personal representative.
It takes months for an estate to settle. Though it will vary from county to county, probate may take six or more months to be finished. Most of this time is spent waiting for a ruling. Probate also provides those who believe the estate owes them money an opportunity to come forward. That waiting period can last several months, even if no one comes forward. The estate's personal representative doesn't have the power to make things go faster because they must follow what the probate court dictates.
The personal representative may request information from you and other loved ones from time to time. If they do so, it is likely at the behest of the court. Be cooperative also with any requests to appear at hearings.
In some cases, personal representatives must be bonded. That means they must purchase a bond that acts similarly to insurance. The bond protects the beneficiaries of the estate if the personal representative should take estate property illegally. It's in your best interests to retain legal help if you suspect wrongdoing. You should seek help from a probate lawyer, and you should not use the same one that oversees the estate.
The personal representative carries an important burden. You can make things better for everyone by monitoring them, cooperating with them, and seeking legal help when you suspect a problem.
COntact a local probate attorney to learn more.