When an individual drafts a will, they generally also appoint an executor, now known as a personal representative in Colorado, to administer their estate. If they fail to do so, or the selected one doesn’t or isn’t able to perform their duties, then a judge will appoint one. Once chosen for that role, that individual is responsible for administering the testator, or will writer’s, estate.
One of the personal representative’s most basic responsibilities is to inventory all of the assets that a decedent left behind. They’re then required to determine what the value of those items was at the time the decedent died. Once these assets are inventoried and valued, it’s the responsibility of the personal representative to protect and preserve their value until they’re distributed to creditors or heirs.
Personal representatives are also responsible for settling the testator’s debts with their creditors and for filing the decedent’s final tax return. After they’ve done all of that, they can locate and distribute assets that remain in the estate to the appropriate heirs.
They’re empowered by the court to set up a bank account or to consolidate other ones if appropriate to administer the estate. They’re also allowed to transfer, encumber or sell real estate, if necessary, to distribute what’s due to creditors or heirs.
The personal representative is expected to carry out their duties with the highest degree of loyalty to the testator’s wishes. They’re expected to eschew bias and to set aside their own personal interests when distributing assets to creditors or beneficiaries. Colorado state law allows personal representatives to be paid a nominal fee for the administrative services that they perform.
Many individuals who are appointed as someone’s personal representative will attempt to probate an estate without the assistance of others. While it’s possible for someone who has done this multiple times to do this without help, it’s not advised as each case is unique to itself. By consulting with a probate & estate administration attorney, you can avoid many of the potential pitfalls that others typically encounter here in Broomfield.