Chayet & Danzo LLC

Call For A Free Initial Consultation
Direct: 303-872-5980 

More Than 20 Years Of Serving Colorado Families And Businesses In Times Of Need

3 types of records that personal representatives should maintain

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate |

In Colorado, a person who manages the probate process for someone else’s estate is referred to as a personal representative of that estate. Other jurisdictions may refer to that person as an executor. The responsibilities are effectively the same regardless of one’s title.

The representative of an estate must locate and abide by the instructions outlined within an estate plan (or from the court if an individual died without a plan in place). They must attend probate hearings in court and have the responsibility of settling someone’s affairs. In some cases, the representative of an estate may incur personal financial responsibility for their errors and oversights, which means that it is of the utmost importance that they adhere to best practices throughout estate administration for their own protection.

Maintaining records is crucial to proving that a representative of the estate properly performed their responsibilities in the event of complaints brought by beneficiaries, family members or even creditors. The following kinds of documentation can help protect someone’s role as a personal representative and their finances as they execute their duties.

Financial records and receipts

Whenever a representative uses estate resources to pay a creditor or settle a bill, they should keep a copy of the financial records associated with that transaction. That way, they can both prove that they fulfilled the obligation and also account for the estate resources used for that purpose. It will be necessary to maintain physical and digital financial records for several years after the completion of the probate process to ensure that the representative won’t face litigation initiated by beneficiaries or third parties that may have an interest in the estate.

Communication records

Keeping written or digital records of when someone calls or sends letters to parties with an interest in the estate can help establish that someone has fulfilled their obligations. A written list including the company name and address of all creditors notified in writing could help disprove claims that a representative failed to handle the estate’s debts properly. Similarly, proof that they have been in contact with beneficiaries and other parties who expect to receive reimbursement from the estate, like utility and mortgage companies, can also help disprove claims that the representative has failed to fulfill their basic responsibilities.

An inventory of assets

Locating and securing the most valuable property previously owned by the testator is an important part of estate administration. It protects assets from theft or oversights. The representative of the estate will want to put together a comprehensive inventory of assets and then also keep records of how they distribute those assets. Having physical receipts that beneficiaries must sign to accept property from the estate is one way to protect against claims that they misappropriated or lost major assets.

Those who are able to account for the assets and funds from an estate will have less risk of financial and legal challenges later in the process. Maintaining thorough records is therefore a necessary part of modern estate administration.