Personal Representative Duties
This is Form DE-147 that all personal representatives of decedent's
estates (administrators and executors) must read, sign, and file with
DUTIES AND LIABILITIES OF PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE
When the court appoints you as personal representative of an estate,
you become an officer of the court and assume certain duties and
obligations. An attorney is best qualified to advise you about these
matters. You should understand the following:
1. MANAGING THE ESTATE'S ASSETS
a. Prudent investments
You must manage the estate assets with the care of a prudent person
dealing with someone else's property. This means that you must be
cautious and may not make any speculative investments.
b. Keep estate assets separate
You must keep the money and property in this estate separate from
anyone else's, including your own. When you open a bank account for the
estate, the account name must indicate that it is an estate account and
not your personal account. Never deposit estate funds in your personal
account or otherwise mix them with your or anyone else's property.
Securities in the estate must also be held in a name that shows they are
estate property and not your personal property.
c. Interest-bearing accounts and other investments
Except for checking accounts intended for ordinary administration
expenses, estate accounts must earn interest. You may deposit estate
funds in insured accounts in financial institutions, but you should
consult with an attorney before making other kinds of investments.
d. Other restrictions
There are many other restrictions on your authority to deal with
estate property. You should not spend any of the estate's money unless
you have received permission from the court or have been advised to do
so by an attorney.
You may reimburse yourself for official court costs paid by you to
the county clerk and for the premium on your bond.
Without prior order of the court, you may not pay fees to yourself or
to your attorney, if you have one. If you do not obtain the court's
permission when it is required, you may be removed as personal
representative or you may be required to reimburse the estate from your
own personal funds, or both. You should consult with an attorney
concerning the legal requirements affecting sales, leases, mortgages,
and investments of estate property.
2. INVENTORY OF ESTATE PROPERTY
a. Locate the estate's property
You must attempt to locate and take possession of all the decedent's
property to be administered in the estate.
b. Determine the value of the property
You must arrange to have a court-appointed referee determine the value
of the property unless the appointment is waived by the court. You,
rather than the referee, must determine the value of certain "cash
items." An attorney can advise you about how to do this.
c. File an inventory and appraisal
Within four months after Letters are first issued to you as personal
representative, you must file with the court an inventory and appraisal
of all the assets in the estate.
d. File a change of ownership
At the time you file the inventory and appraisal, you must also file
a change of ownership statement with the county recorder or assessor in
each county where the decedent owned real property at the time of death,
as provided in section 480 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code.
3. NOTICE TO CREDITORS
You must mail a notice of administration to each known creditor of
the decedent within four months after your appointment as personal
representative. If the decedent received Medi-Cal assistance, you must
notify the State Director of Health Services within 90 days after
You should determine that there is appropriate and adequate insurance
covering the assets and risks of the estate. Maintain the insurance in
force during the entire period of the administration.
5. RECORD KEEPING
a. Keep accounts
You must keep complete and accurate records of each financial
transaction affecting the estate. You will have to prepare an account of
all money and property you have received, what you have spent, and the
date of each transaction. You must describe in detail what you have left
after the payment of expenses.
b. Court review
Your account will be reviewed by the court. Save your receipts
because the court may ask to review them. If you do not file your
accounts as required, the court will order you to do so. You may be
removed as personal representative if you fail to comply.
6. CONSULTING AN ATTORNEY
If you have an attorney, you should cooperate with the attorney at
all times. You and your attorney are responsible for completing the
estate administration as promptly as possible. When in doubt, contact