The Appointment & Responsibilities of a Designated Personal Representative
It is important in life to have order. For everyone to live in harmony one with another, from our earliest history, societies have created a system of laws. In a targeted way, we have designated laws regarding how estates are to be administered after a person dies. To keep order, one person takes the lead on administering the estate and presides over the ultimate distribution of property. This article explains how this person is appointed and what responsibilities they have. The experienced probate attorneys at Lee Kiefer & Park LLC help Personal Representatives perform their responsibilities.
The attorneys at Lee Kiefer & Park, LLC, have a wealth of probate experience. Managing partner Kennedy Lee has practiced trust and estates law in Nevada since completing law school in 2011. Mr. Kiefer and Mr. Park focus their practice on litigating matters related to trust and estate administration. Mr. Lee and partner Matthew Park carry the highest possible rating from the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell per-based lawyer rating service. The three partners experience is complimented by that of Suzanne Fitts, a 1989 law school graduate who serves the firm as of counsel.
Appointment of Personal Representative
In Nevada, the person appointed by the court to help distribute property is called a personal representative. This term is used whether a person has a Will, having a Testate Estate, or when the person does not have a Will, having an Intestate Estate.
Generally, when a person dies having created a Will, the person named in the Will as personal representative submits the Will to the Court along with a petition requesting the Court appoint them as personal representative. Typically, the Court goes along with the person nominated in the Will. The personal representative is given Letters Testamentary, which grants them authority to act, after taking an oath declaring they will perform the required duties of a Personal Representative.
The process is slightly different when a person dies not having created a Will. See Probate Post. The individual wanting to be personal representative files a petition with the Court requesting permission to administer the Estate and that the Court appoint them as personal representative. This individual will receive Letters of Administration after taking an oath declaring they will perform the required duties of a personal representative. The Court bases decisions on appointment of a personal representative using a pecking order of priority when the person dies without a Will. The Court will grant permission in the following order: surviving spouse; children; a parent; a sibling; grandchild, any other kindred entitled to part of the property; the public administrator; a creditor of the deceased; any other kindred within four generations; and any person legally qualified. If multiple individuals are equally entitled, the court has discretion in choosing which individual will serve as Personal Representative.
Sometimes there are urgent or unusual circumstances which call for a prompt appointment of a personal representative. A Nevada Probate Court may appoint a special administrator to ensure the estate is preserved in these situations. Some of these circumstances include when there is a delay in opening probate or when there are no assets subject to Probate. If there is good cause, for example to carry forward a personal injury claim, the Court can act. No notice is required, and the appointment does not have to be done in public. This authority given is specific to the circumstance. This special administration will end when the Court deems it suitable to close or when a petition for Probate has been submitted.
Qualifying as Personal Representative
A person can qualify to serve as a personal representative in Nevada if they are 18 years of age or older, has never been convicted of a felony, and are a resident of the State of Nevada. If they are not a resident of Nevada, it is still possible for them to serve as personal representative if they are either nominated to serve as personal representative in the Will, a co-personal representative is appointed who is a resident of Nevada or a bank authorized to do business in Nevada.
Sometimes the personal representative will be required to pay a bond. This is at the discretion of the Court. A Will can waive the requirement but if the Court deems it necessary, a bond can still be instituted. If the liquid assets will be held by a non-interested party, the Court usually does not require this.
Duties of a Personal Representative
In Nevada, a personal representative must use reasonable diligence in performing the duties of the personal representative and in administering the estate. If the personal representative acts in good faith and exercises ordinary prudence, they will not be liable for any losses suffered by the estate.
Personal representatives must account for their actions, show fidelity to the terms of the Will, show loyalty, be impartial, and be prudent with investments. Personal representatives have many responsibilities including but not limited to the following: opening the estate; identifying and collecting assets of the estate, managing and investing the assets of the estate; keeping appropriate records of estate property and transactions including filing taxes and other required documents; paying taxes, debts, and other expenses of the estate; keeping the Court informed about the status of the estate administration; and distributing the remaining assets of the estate to the appropriate beneficiaries.
The choice of who to choose as your personal representative is an important question. It is important that you have the utmost trust and faith in them. We would love to help you make this decision. Call Lee Kiefer & Park LLC for a free consultation, either by using the online form or calling 702-333-1711.