18. What are the responsibilities of a personal representative?

The personal representative: 1) Decides if there are any estate assets; 2) Locates and manages the estate assets during the probate process; 3) Receives payments due to the estate, such as rent, unpaid salary, dividends, etc.; 4) Sets up an estate bank account to hold estate funds; 5) Values the assets of the estate; 6) Gives official legal notice to creditors and potential creditors of the probate proceeding; 7) Investigates the validity of any claims against the estate; 8) Uses estate funds to pay funeral bills, outstanding debts, and valid claims; 9) Uses estate funds to pay continuing expenses, such as mortgage payments, insurance premiums, etc.; 10) Handles day-to-day details, such as ending leases and credit cards, notifying banks and government agencies of the decedents death, etc.; 11) Files final state and federal income tax returns covering the period from the beginning of the tax year to the date of death, and uses estate funds to pay income and estate taxes; 12) Figures out who gets what estate assets and distributes the assets to those individuals after obtaining court approval; and 13) File receipts for distribution and wrap up any final details for the estate.

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