The role of the personal representative is to step into the shoes of the deceased – Judge Frank Simon. The term personal representative is familiar to those of you who have a will consideration. For those of you who do not have a will, in contemplating one. Be familiar with the important role of a personal representative, and choose your personal representative after careful consideration. If someone has asked you to be a personal representative. You need to familiarize yourself with what the role entails before accepting the duty.

When a person dies, the designated personal representative’s duties come full force. However, before a person dies, he/she should explain the general obligations to the personal representative that the personal representative will have to perform. At the same time, the personal representative should take the initiative to engage the testator in a detailed conversation regarding his/her duties and the specifics of the estate and assets.

Appointment by the Court

A personal representative does not take on his/her legal powers as personal representative until appointment by the court as the personal representative.  However, prior to the official appointment, the personal representative will need to locate the original will, file the original will, and secure any property or assets of the deceased.

Personal Representative’s Duties

The personal representative’s duties include such legal obligations as securing, inventorying, and valuing all the decedent’s assets. These assets pay off all the decedent’s legitimate debts and file and pay the decedent’s taxes, income, and estate. The estate then distributes the remaining assets according to the decedent’s will or state law. Failure to perform these duties appropriately can subject the personal representative to fines. As well as personal liability for unpaid debts of the deceased.  As you can imagine, all of this is not accomplished quickly; in fact, from opening to closing of the estate. The personal representative performs his/her duties for a period extending anywhere from eight to eighteen + months.

And, if you are wondering about this point, a personal representative does not work for free. Unless he/she chooses to waive the statutory compensation fee or the compensation amount provided in the will (a written renunciation of the fee may be filed with the court).  Unless a contract or the will provides otherwise, a personal representative receives compensation according to South Carolina’s statutory provisions.

Will Compensation of a Personal Representative

Section 62-3-719 of the South Carolina Code addresses the compensation of a personal representative.  The minimum commission payable is fifty dollars ($50.00), regardless of the value of the personal property of the estate.  A personal representative may receive not more than five percent (5%) of the income earned by the probate estate in which he/she acts as fiduciary.

Ultimately, if you need a will Consideration draft, consider the choice of a personal representative. On the flip side, if someone has asked you to perform the role of a personal representative, also think long and hard.


Schedule an appointment with us today to learn how we can help you through this process: 864-804-6330

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