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What are the duties of the estate’s representative?

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate |

When someone dies, they could leave their estate to their family, indicating their wishes in a will. They prepare by using other estate planning tools to distribute their assets efficiently. However, most cases might enter probate, involving subsequent legal procedures to facilitate the estate’s administration based on the deceased’s instructions and the law.

When this happens, the court typically appoints someone to represent the estate. They will carry out tasks on behalf of the deceased to resolve loose ends and distribute the estate among the rightful beneficiaries. However, this role is not for everyone. This position comes with significant responsibilities, meeting strict deadlines along the way. In Maryland, an estate’s representative must accomplish the following duties:

  • Collect the deceased’s assets.
  • Create an inventory of the estate and file a report.
  • Prepare information and documents for accounting.
  • Resolve the deceased’s debts, taxes and other administration expenses.
  • Take on more tasks necessary to comply with state law requirements.

Additionally, the representative might need to coordinate with the court and the beneficiaries, keeping them updated on the process. Sometimes, the appointed representative could refuse the role for valid reasons.

Refusing to be the estate’s representative

An appointee might not be in an ideal position to oversee an estate. Sometimes, they might live too far away or bear other urgent responsibilities that take up all their time. If so, the court could appoint another person to represent the estate. However, relinquishing these obligations could depend on the circumstances, requiring further discussion based on the situation.

Choosing the right person for the role

Situations might change over time, making the chosen representative unfit for the role at the time of the decedent’s death. This is why people should update their wills regularly. Doing so could include vital considerations in the estate plan, giving better direction to surviving family members.