When your loved one dies with a will, the will often has to go through probate court. If you find yourself appointed as the personal representative of a will, you have set duties you need to fulfill under California law.
Learn some of the responsibilities of a personal representative during probate.
Get a handle on assets and debts
You may already have access to financial accounts and bills, depending on who died. One of your duties during probate is to tabulate all tangible and intangible assets, property and debt. The court will expect you to keep an accurate count of the value of the estate.
You must also pay off debts to creditors who present valid bills or contracts. If you need clarification about the validity of a creditor’s claim, the court can step in and decide. Before probate can continue, all legal debts need payment.
The will should have a list of who receives what. One of your tasks is to notify everyone listed in the will so they can come forward and claim whatever property the decedent left them. This includes personal property, such as jewelry and furniture, as well as cash or real estate.
File a tax return
Both the state and federal governments require the estate to file tax returns and pay tax on the gross value. Before probate can close, the estate balance needs to fall to zero, including the payment of taxes.
As a personal representative, you have a lot on your plate. With this in mind, consider asking for assistance so you do not get caught up in a more complicated situation.