Swearing in Your Personal Representative in Probate

When you create a will, you will have to name personal representatives. These representatives will be in charge of you estate after you pass on, and will be in charge of the distribution and management of your properties. If you do not designate your own personal representative, then the court will have to do this for you. Typically, the courts will designate your personal representative if you die without a will or if you have a will but didn't specify who your personal representative should be. Also, if the person that you selected died for some reason and can't serve and you didn't bring in someone to replace your original choice, then the court will need to appoint a personal representative for you.

Most of the time, the court will not contest your choice for personal representative unless the individual has fallen into mental incapacitation and can no longer make reliable or trusted decisions. Most often, personal representatives are relatives. If you die without appointing a personal representative, the court will allow a family member to petition to be the court-appointed representative. Normally, spouses or adult children can petition for this job. Regardless of who is selected to take on the job, the court will give your personal representative the official right to settle and work through all situations regarding finances and the distribution of properties according to the will.

The court will give your personal representative a document called the Letters of Administration that will officially declare that person the sole personal representative for the estate. Sometimes these documents are also called the Letters Testamentary. The personal representatives that are named in your will or chosen by the court will need to be formally appointed before officially entering into office. This means that until the appointment takes place, your personal representative cannot take action. The personal representative will be required to take an oath of office and will then receive the official documents showing status.

Your personal representative will need to file a document called the Petition of Probate of Will and Appointment of Personal Representative with the probate court. This is the petition that starts the probate process. If you have a will, the court will issue an order admitting your will to probate. The court will then acknowledge the will's validity at this time and you can start going about executing the will.

The personal representative will have many jobs associated with his or her position, and the commitment is both weighty and time-consuming. If a personal representative becomes incapacitated or ill, it may be best to have a back-up designated in your will just in case. The personal representative will need ot manage finances, make sure debts are repaid, distribute financial and property assets to beneficiaries as required in the will, sell any properties that are supposed to be divided for monetary value, contact all affected parties to notify them of the individual's death, get property appraised as needed and more.

If you want more information about personal representatives or if you are a personal representative and don't know how to handle your new responsibilities, then you need to talk with a lawyer or estate planning professional today. Probate.com provides listings of professional and reliable estate planning attorneys and probate assistants. The probate process can be difficult, as personal representatives are often emotional about their loved one's passing. Having individuals there to guide you through the process can be an absolute lifesaver during the days ahead. Use Probate.com to locate individuals that can handle all your needs!