On December 4, 2013

The Colorado Bar Association has created a Personal Representitive’s Guide to help people understand the process and the duties of a PR in estate administration.  In Colorado, a person appointed by the court named to administer an estate is known as the Personal Representative. This position used to be called an executor (male) or executrix (female), and a number of states still use these terms. In all cases, they are totally interchangeable and mean exactly the same thing. Some states make a distinction in the terminology depending on whether or not there is or is not a valid will. In Colorado, there is no difference irrespective of whether a person is named in a will or is appointed because there was no will.

The purpose of a personal representative (PR) is to carry out the wishes of the decedent (as far as the law will allow) to complete the decedent’s personal business affairs (such as paying bills and filing tax returns) , manage the decedent’s estate, and complete the distribution of the assets according to the decedent’s wishes.  This is sometimes called Estate Administration.

Duties of the Personal Representative in General

The PR has an absolute duty to act impartially in regards to all parties to the estate. This is especially true when the PR is also a beneficiary of the estate. The PR must treat each beneficiary fairly.

The PR has a positive duty to administer the estate with care and prudence (there are legal definitions about what this means), making sure to put the interests of the estate in front of the PR’s own interests.

The personal representative is responsible for doing the following:

  • Collecting and inventorying the assets of the estate;
  • Managing the assets of the estate during the probate process;
  • Paying the bills of the estate
  • Making distribution to the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate
  • Closing the estate after all of the above responsibilities have been completed

This a just a excerpt from the guide which gives more details on what it means to accept the PR role and why many people seek help from a qualified attorney.

(Updated January 2012) This pamphlet is published as a public service by the Colorado Bar Association. Its purpose is to inform citizens of their legal rights and obligations and to provide information regarding the legal profession and how it may best serve the community. Changes may have occurred in the law since the time of publication. Before relying on this information, consult an attorney about your individual case. For further information visit www.courts.state.co.us or coloradolegalservices.org

Categories: Estate Administration

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