The personal representative, also known as the executor, is the person who wraps up the estate's affairs and carries out the instructions in the will after the estate's owner dies. In Maryland, the personal representative works closely with the Orphans' Court. Personal representatives in Maryland have certain rights that allow them to carry out their duties.
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Obtain Contact Information
A personal representative in Maryland receives her rights from the Orphans' Court when the court gives her letters of representation, a legal document that confers the rights needed to manage the estate. One of the first rights the personal representative uses after receiving her letters of representation is the right to find out the contact information of the deceased person's beneficiaries and creditors. The personal representative also has the right and the duty to contact the beneficiaries and creditors to inform them the probate estate has been opened.
Take Possession of and Appraise Property
A Maryland personal representative has a duty to file an inventory of the estate with the Orphans' Court. To carry out this duty, the personal representative is given the right to take possession of the estate's property, to manage it so value is not lost and to hire an appraiser at the estate's expense to assess the value of the property. Maryland law requires an appraisal of the fair market value of each piece of real and personal property in the estate on the date of the deceased person's death, according to the Maryland Register of Wills.
Manage Bank Accounts and Other Investments
The personal representative of a Maryland estate must pay the estate's bills and manage its assets. To perform this duty, he has the right to access the estate's bank accounts and other investments. The personal representative may open, close or transfer funds in and out of bank accounts; use bank account funds to pay the estate's bills; and manage, invest or sell investments to raise the money necessary to pay the estate's bills, according to the Maryland Register of Wills.
A Maryland personal representative may receive compensation for her work on the estate. Compensation is paid according to Maryland law. As of 2010, a personal representative could receive up to 9 percent of an estate worth $20,000 or less. For an estate worth over $20,000, the personal representative could receive up to $1,800 plus 3.6 percent of the estate value over $20,000. Payments for debts the estate owed the personal representative before the estate's owner died must be approved separately by the Orphans' Court, according to the Maryland Register of Wills.
References & Resources
- Maryland Register of Wills: Administering Estates in Maryland
- Maryland Register of Wills Association: Administration of Estates in Maryland
- Prince George's County: Estate FAQs
- Maryland Register of Wills: Frequently Used Terms
- Maryland Register of Wills: General Estate Information Guide
- Maryland Register of Wills Association: Living Trust Pamphlet
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