Duties and Responsibilities of a Personal Representative

What is a Personal Representative?

A Personal Representative (PR) is someone who sort outs the deceased’s affairs which includes managing and protecting their assets and distributing the estate. Where there is a Will, the ‘Executor’ will be the person(s) appointed by the testator to deal with their estate and their legal authority is derived from the Will. If there is no Will, the rules of intestacy will determine who has the authority to administer the estate and they are called the ‘Administrator’. Executors and Administrators are collectively known as ‘Personal Representatives’.

The duties and responsibilities of an Executor and Administrator will largely be the same. They have the same authority, responsibility and liability when dealing with the deceased’s estate. The only difference between the two is the existence of a Will.

What are the duties of a PR?

The PR is responsible for managing all aspects of the estate administration and this will be the same whether the estate is worth hundreds or millions of pounds.

These duties include:

  • Gathering all the information regarding the deceased’s assets and liabilities
  • Contacting all the relevant organisations and obtaining date of death values
  • Encashing the assets and settling all the bills, debts and charges of the estate
  • Identifying and locating the beneficiaries of the estate
  • Conducting bankruptcy searches, placing Trustee Act Notices to protect the PRs from personal liability and ascertaining all unclaimed or missing assets
  • Calculating and submitting the inheritance tax papers and payment of inheritance tax, if applicable, to HMRC
  • Making the application to the Probate Registry to obtain the Grant of Representation
  • Encashing the assets
  • Distributing the  legacies
  • Selling or transferring assets as necessary
  • Preparing the Estate Accounts for interested parties
  • Distributing the residuary estate to those entitled – either the residuary beneficiaries in the Will or those entitled according to the intestacy rules
  • Finalising the inheritance tax, income tax and capital gains tax positions with HMRC.

What are the responsibilities?

A PR has to ensure that the estate is administered and distributed correctly according to the Will and law. A PR is responsible for:

  • Protecting the assets of the estate and arranging insurances, as applicable
  • Correctly identifying the assets and ensuring that all liabilities have been settled
  • Correctly locating and identifying all the beneficiaries entitled under the Will or intestacy and distributing the estate correctly
  • Ensuring that the correct amount of all taxes due to HMRC have been accounted for and settled as failure to follow the rules and time limits can mean penalties and interest being applied and even personal liability
  • If there are missing beneficiaries, particularly when dealing with an intestate estate, obtaining missing beneficiary insurance
  • Ensuring that the administration of the estate is concluded without unnecessary delay.

If you are a Personal Representative and would like some advice regarding the probate administration, please do not hesitate to contact Mr David Chandra, Head of Private Client on 020 8290 7348 or dchandra@judge-priestley.co.uk for a no-obligation consultation.