Maxine Aaronson, Attorney at Law
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Estate Planning Newsletter

  • Conservators of the Person and of the Estate
    A “conservator” is a court-appointed individual assigned to handle the daily affairs of those who cannot care for themselves due to physical or mental limitations (the “conservatee”). Conservatorships are... Read more.
  • Life Insurance Uses
    There are numerous uses for life insurance. Some are obvious; others are very creative. Some of the most common uses include paying estate taxes, estate administration, inheritance equalizing and many others. Estate Taxes... Read more.
  • Converting a Home Into a Source of Income: Reverse Mortgages
    Many are familiar with the concept of a mortgage, where an individual makes monthly payments to a lender. However, for those who qualify, there is another type of mortgage called a “reverse mortgage” (RM), where the lender... Read more.
  • Estate Tax Valuation Methods for Securities
    In 2001, Congress passed legislation incrementally increasing the amount exempt from federal estate taxes and completely eliminating estate taxes in the year 2010. However, the legislation contains a “sunset” provision... Read more.
Estate Planning News Links

Management & Distribution of Property After Death

When a person dies, a personal representative must be appointed to manage and distribute the decedent’s estate.

Types of Personal Representatives

A personal representative is any of the following:

  • Executor – Someone who was chosen by the person who created the will (testator) to carry out the terms of a will after death.
  • Administrator – Someone who has been designated by the probate court to manage and/or distribute a deceased person’s estate.

Court Appointment

Other than situations where a person dies without a will (intestate), a representative may be appointed if:

  • An executor is not named in the will
  • The named executor is no longer alive
  • The named executor resigns or is incapable of handling the duties required of an executor

Standard of Care

In administering a decedent’s estate, the personal representative must exercise the same level of care that he/she would use in dealing with his/her own estate. The representative should use prudence and diligence in management of the decedent’s property.

Expenses

Personal representatives are usually reimbursed for any necessary out-of-pocket expenses. Such expenses may include:

  • Property management wages
  • Costs of attorney’s fees
  • Cost of surety bond
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Repairs made to the property

A personal representative is a fiduciary and may be personally responsible for any losses related to his/her neglect or mismanagement of a decedent’s estate.