You will see the term ‘personal representatives’ (or the abbreviation ‘PRs’) used a lot. The term refers to either the ‘executors’ or the ‘administrators’ of the estate of a deceased person.
The term executor is used when the deceased person left a will and administrator when there was no will and the person died intestate.
Responsibilities of the personal representatives
As a personal representative you are responsible, together with the other people appointed, for making sure that the deceased person’s estate is administered correctly.
If person left a will, you are responsible for ensuring that their wishes, as set out in their will, are followed.
If the person did not leave a will then you are responsible for ensuring that the rules of intestacy are followed.
Lord Millet in the case Bristol and West Building Society v Mothew (1998) defined a fiduciary as ‘someone who has undertaken to act for and on behalf of another in a particular matter in circumstances which give rise to a relationship of trust and confidence.’
The role of personal representative is one instance of a person with a fiduciary duty. In short it means that you must act at all times diligently, in good faith and in the best interest of the estate and the beneficiaries.
For further information from HM Revenue & Customs on the responsibilities of personal representatives, please click here.
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