Most of you probably heard the term “executor”. However, due to a change in Massachusetts law, the term executor has been replaced with “Personal Representative”.
Before you choose someone to act as your Personal Representative, it is important to understand what that entails. You want to select someone that is organized, good with handling money and age appropriate. Depending upon the size of your estate, a Personal Representative has a significant amount of responsibility. Although your Personal Representative will hire an attorney to assist them through the probate process, be sure to nominate someone that is willingly and able to deal with what may be time consuming activities. For example, a typical estate requires a Personal Representative to do the following as part of the probate process:
- Locate your will
- Retain an attorney
- Order death certificates
- Gather information relative to your assets and liabilities
- Open an estate bank account
- Liquidate bank accounts
- Gather and protect all of your assets
- Hire a Real Estate Broker to sell your home
- Pay creditors claims and expenses relative to your estate
- File tax returns, including final income tax returns and estate tax returns
- Keep detailed records of expenses
- File an accounting with the court
This list is not all inclusive and there are many other tasks that may be required of your Personal Representative. So choose wisely and always select an alternate. It is worth noting that a Personal Representative is entitled to be reimbursed from your estate for expenses and he or she may receive reasonable compensation for the services rendered.
There have been a number of changes in the law relative to estate planning and trust administration with the codification of the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code and the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code. In light of these changes, now may be a good time to have your estate planning documents reviewed and possibly updated.
For more information, contact:
Attorney Deborah A. Katz
Katz Legal Group LLC
60 Walnut Street, 4th Floor
Wellesley, MA 02481
Deborah is available for meetings and consultations in Wellesley and Burlington.