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Question: What are the duties of a personal representative in probate?

Answer:

The authority of the personal representative comes from the court because the personal representative is appointed by and serves as an officer of the court. The general duty of the personal representative is to properly distribute and settle the estate as quickly and efficiently as possible,  and consistent with the best interests of the estate.

One of the powers of the personal representative is the ability to enter into contracts on behalf of the estate, including the distribution of the property. The law (A.R.S. § 14-3715 (23)) states that “except as restricted or otherwise provided by the will or by an order in a formal proceeding …, a personal representative, acting reasonably for the benefit of the interested persons, may properly…sell, mortgage or lease any real or personal property of the estate or any interest therein for cash, credit or for part cash and part credit, and with or without security for unpaid balances.” Once the estate is settled, generally, it can be closed by the filing of a document with the court to indicate the administration of the estate is complete. This filing is usually done by the personal representative. (A.R.S. § 14-3933)

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