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What does a personal representative do?

While creating a will is crucial, choosing the right personal representative is equally important. After you're gone, this person will be obligated to perform many essential tasks regarding your estate, including dispersing assets to your heirs according to your wishes. The Balance explains some of the many duties of a personal representative so you can make the best decision when selecting a candidate. 

If you die with debts, your representative will be responsible for locating creditors. There are a number of ways this can be accomplished. For known creditors, official notice must be sent informing them of your death and presenting the opportunity to file a claim for any outstanding debts. Of course, some people have creditors that are not readily known to friends and family. In this case, some representatives choose to post notices in a local newspaper make news of your death public knowledge. 

Representatives are also responsible for bringing together property and assets for safekeeping until they are dispersed to family members. Some assets, such as proceeds from life insurance policies, immediately pass on to the designated beneficiaries when you die. The tangible property must be cataloged and acquired by the representative when possible. This can include things like houses, vehicles, jewelry, and other items owned by the deceased. 

Once debts and outstanding taxes are paid, items can be dispersed to heirs. The representative must show that all financial issues have been squared away before items can be received. This entails providing a list of assets along with their accompanying values. The representative must also show that all debts and other financial obligations have been paid in full. 

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