When someone passes away, it is difficult to be truly ready for everything that comes after. Having access to a prepared will can alleviate some of the stress for loved ones, and it should also outline who is to be the executor.  

If there is no will, or if there is a will but no executor named, the law sets out which of the deceased’s beneficiaries or closest living relatives should handle the estate. This person is called an administrator. Executors and administrators are also known as Personal Representatives, and their duties are largely the same.

In this guide, we will discuss the functions and first steps of the process so you know what to expect if you have been given the role of Personal Representative.

The Functions of a Personal Representative:

Some of the tasks a Personal Representative is responsible for include:

- Making a list and protecting the assets of the estate including all property and valuables.

- Finding, paying and calling in all outstanding debts.

- Paying the funeral expenses.

- Informing and ensuring the beneficiaries or next of kin receive what they are entitled to.

Your First Steps:

  • Take care of any property and valuables - check insurance cover, remove items of value from the house, inform utility companies etc.
  • Collect and go through all the deceased person’s personal documents e.g. bank statements, insurance policies, details of savings accounts and stocks, title deeds etc.
  • Talk to their bank. Financial institutions will usually release money for the funeral after you have sent them relevant documents.
  • Get all assets and liabilities of the estate valued.
  • Find out whether the deceased was availing of the Fair Deal Scheme.
  • Your role as a Personal Representative is to obtain a grant of representation. This is the legal document enabling you to administer the estate. It will usually take at least three months to receive this.

While each case is different, the law allows for one year from the date of death to provide the beneficiaries with what they are due, as per the will. As the Personal Representative, you should take the lead in making any necessary decisions.

In our next article on this topic, we will examine common legal issues that you might face as a Personal Representative. If you have any questions around the role of executor or administrator, contact us.


28 January 2020

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