Personal Representative Duties and Responsibilities

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Personal Representative Duties and Responsibilities

Self-Help Services: Probate Return to the Self Help Services: Probate home page Probate Forms Glossary of Probate Terms Alaska Court System website










What is a Personal Representative?


A Personal Representative is the person appointed by the court who handles the probate. The Personal Representative is responsible for all of the following:

  • Gathering property owned by the person who died.
  • Notifying creditors and heirs or devisees.
  • Handling debts and taxes.
  • Wrapping up the final business affairs of the person who died.
  • Transferring property owned by the person who died to the right persons.
  • Filing any documents required by the state or federal government.
  • Filing all documents required by the court.
  • Closing the probate when everything is done.

You can watch a very short presentation on the Role of the Personal Representative.


The Forms and Instructions page has links to specific information about

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Personal Representative legal definition of Personal Representative

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Personal Representative

A person who manages the financial affairs of another person who is unable to do so.

A personal representative is one kind of fiduciary—an individual whom another has trusted to manage her property and money. When a person dies, a personal representative generally is required to settle the decedent’s financial affairs. In some instances, a living person may need a personal representative; for example, a minor might need a personal representative to make legal decisions for her. Personal representatives can be appointed by a court, nominated by will, or selected by the person involved. Their duties are performed under the supervision of probate courts, which are governed by state law.

When someone dies leaving property, a personal representative is required to administer the decedent’s estate, which involves resolving any debts and handling the distribution of property. The jurisdiction, powers, and functions connected with administering the decedent’s estate are

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The Role of a Personal Estate Representative

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You’ll be asked to name a number of fiduciaries when you set up your estate plan, and one of these is your personal representative. This individual is more commonly called an executor or — if the person serving is a female — an executrix.

The Title Varies, but the Duties of a Personal Representative Are Virtually Identical

The term administrator is also used in some states, but while the duties and responsibilities of an administrator are virtually identical to those of a personal representative or executor, an administrator commonly settles intestate estates. These are estates where the decedent died without a will, left a will without naming a personal representative, or the individual he chose is unable or unwilling to serve for some reason. The court will appoint an administrator to handle probate of the estate in these situations.

Ideally, you’ll name a personal representative in your last will and

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