When you select someone as your Personal Representative, you’re asking a lot of that person. Many see the title as an honor — and it is certainly an important position — but it comes with a number of legal duties that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
During the life of the testator (that is, the person making the will), the Personal Representative has neither power nor responsibility. But upon the testator’s death, that changes.
Duties of a Personal Representative in Arizona include:
- Taking control of the testator’s physical assets, such as jewelry and cash.
- Ordering copies of the official death certificate. The funeral home can usually help with that.
- Notifying the testator’s insurance agencies, banks, and other companies/unions where the testator had accounts or other financial interests.
- Notifying the testator’s creditors.
- Overseeing probate.
- Paying taxes out of the estate and filing the necessary tax returns.
- Issuing annual reports of the estate’s assets and liabilities (until the estate closes for good).
While this isn’t necessarily a complete list, it gives you an idea of the many responsibilities incumbent on a Personal Representative in Arizona.
How a Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Can Help
In most cases, it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer to help with the headache of estate planning.
If you’re currently creating a Last Will and Testament and/or revocable trust, a Phoenix estate planning attorney can help you foresee potentialities that may not otherwise occur to you.
Meanwhile, if you are the Personal Representative for someone who recently passed away, an experienced law firm can help lighten your load. In many cases, the estate may be able to provide for the attorney’s fees to ensure that everything is carried out in compliance with Arizona state law.