Last time, our blog started discussing how those who are appointed to serve as the personal representative of an estate often experience significant unease, and how much of this can be traced to the simple fact that they know relatively little about what this entails and don't want to disappoint the friends and family of the deceased.
In an attempt to help those who find themselves in these situations proceed with greater confidence and insight, we began taking a closer look at the duties of personal representatives here in Georgia.
Specifically, we discussed how one of the principal duties of any personal representative is to identify and locate all known probate assets from personal property and real estate to motor vehicles and business interests.
Having established what constitutes a probate asset, the question naturally arises as to what a personal representative is expected to do once they identify and locate these probate assets.
The answer is that they must take steps to secure them and, of course, the steps required to accomplish this depend largely upon the type of property in question.
Consider the following:
- Personal property: In the majority of circumstances, the personal property of the deceased can be found within their residence or another structure they visited frequently. Accordingly, the personal representative may be required to do nothing more than ensure that these locations are secured.
- Real property: The personal representative must take steps to ensure that any real estate owned by the deceased is secured and managed. This means that not only must the necessary insurance coverage be maintained, but that all communications concerning things like utility bills, property taxes, mortgage payments, etc. must be forwarded and handled by the personal representative.
- Motor vehicles: The personal representative must not only secure and protect the actual motor vehicles and their titles, but also ensure that they are properly managed in terms of things like insurance.
We will continue this discussion in future posts.
In the meantime, those who have been named personal representative of an estate and have any concerns about what exactly this entails should consider speaking with a skilled legal professional.