Upon the court's appointment, the personal representative becomes an officer of the court and takes on certain duties and responsibilities. These duties and responsibilities include:
- Managing the estate's assets. Estate assets must be managed with the care of a prudent person dealing with someone else's property. The prudent person rule requires that the fiduciary or the personal representative exercise discretion and average intelligence in making investment decisions. Accordingly, the personal representative should be cautious about making risky or speculative investments and may be liable for losses obtained in such kind of investments.
Estate assets must be kept separate and not commingled with anyone else's, including that of the personal representative. Bank accounts, securities and other assets must be held in a name that shows that they are estate property and should not be held under the name of the personal representative.
Estate accounts must earn interest and may be kept in insured accounts in financial institutions, except for checking accounts intended for ordinary administration expenses.
The estate's money cannot be spent without the court's approval. However, reimbursements can be made for official court costs paid by the personal representative to the county clerk as well as for bond premium. Money taken out of the estate without the court's permission may result in the personal representative's removal and/or reimbursement to the estate from the personal representative's own personal funds.
Stay tuned for more on this topic on our subsequent blog.
*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be construed as professional legal advice.