What is a Personal Representative? | WA State Probate TV 002

What is a Personal Representative?

First, let’s just get this out of the way – in the context of probate “Personal Representative” and “Executor” are the same thing.

In Washington State for some reason we’ve just decided to call them Personal Representative. So, when you hear that term, that’s what it means.

Now that that is settled, let’s move on to the important stuff – what, exactly a Personal Representative does.

At the end of the day the role a Personal Representative takes on is going to depend a lot on the estate that is being settled. There are definitely simple and complicated probates.

With that being said, however, in my experience as a probate attorney I’ve come to see the Personal Representative as having several overarching duties. Here they are…

First, the Personal Representative is in charge of organizing the estate.

Often people leave a lot of loose ends when they die. The Personal Representative is responsible for tying these up. This often involves going through the mail, talking to any professionals the decedent used, and generally looking around for clues as to what the decedent owned.

Second, the Personal Representative is responsible for accumulating all of the assets and safe keeping them. This includes opening bank accounts, getting an EIN, and everything in between.

Third, the Personal Representative is responsible for keeping beneficiaries apprised of what is going on.

The law imposes certain communication requirements on Personal Representatives, and that’s usually what this revolves around.

Fourth, the PR is responsible for figuring out the debts of the decedent and paying off any creditor claims made validly.

Fifth, and finally, the PR is responsible for distributing the assets to the respective beneficiaries and closing the probate.

If a lot of this seems complicated, it’s because it can be.

But it doesn’t have to be. With some good help the experience can be a tolerable one with little to no headaches.

If you have any more questions or think you might want some help, click the link below to schedule a phone or in person strategy session. Looking forward to it!



Christopher Small