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Creditors and paying bills: The role of a personal representative

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2020 | Estate Administration & Probate, Executors & Fiduciaries |

The role of a personal representative is vital in the administration of an estate. This individual takes on a host of responsibilities, following the wishes of the decedent while navigating the legal system. It is an important job with many moving parts.

A key piece of the estate administration process involves getting a thorough handling on the decedent’s bills.

Identifying and notifying creditors

Among the first parties to contact an estate following a person’s death are often creditors – individuals or groups owed money by the decedent. State probate laws allow for a clear, structured path for creditors to see these debts settled.

A lot of this work falls on the personal representative.

During the collection and inventorying of documents, the personal representative should make sure to identify and keep anything related to debts. While some creditors will reach out to the estate directly, the personal representative should also take time to contact anyone that might be owed money.

Similarly, a personal representative needs to publish a notice in a local newspaper, stating what happened and providing creditors an opportunity to reach out. This helps ensure creditors only have a few months to stake a claim.

Paying the bills

Once creditors have been identified and claims have been made, the personal representative has to make sure the estate pays those bills. However, it’s a good idea to only pay these debts once you’ve collected all of them and determined they are legitimate.

Serving as a personal representative is an important task, one generally given only to those who can be trusted. The role of a personal representative can be a significant undertaking. Considering the long list of tasks, it sometimes requires extra help to ensure it all goes smoothly.

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