Personal representatives have various duties and powers given to them by statute but some may also be authorised by a Will. Personal representatives have full capacity to carry out administration of the estate once the Grant of Representation is made.
To administer the estate effectively personal representatives must:-
- Take all reasonable steps to collect in the deceased’s assets
- Take reasonable steps to collect money due to the estate (and instigate proceedings when necessary)
- Pay the deceased’s funeral and testamentary debts
- Distribute legacies
- Complete the administration and distribute the residuary estate
Personal representatives are personally liable for loss to the estate arising from a breach of duty committed as a personal representative, for example:
- Omitting to safeguard assets, e.g. failing to take the necessary steps to preserve the value of assets
- Maladministration e.g. where the statutory order for the payment of debts is not adhered to
- Misappropriation of assets e.g. where the personal representatives use estate assets for their own personal circumstances rather than those of the estate
If you have been appointed as a Personal Representative and are uncertain as to your duties or wish to delegate your responsibilities to more experienced hands then you can discuss this with our solicitors at Wilson Browne.