The personal representative is appointed by the probate court and issued “Personal Representative Letters”, which show they have authority to manage assets of the estate. For intestate estates, the beneficiaries can nominate a personal representative, or if an agreement can’t be made the probate court will hold a hearing and the judge will decide who will be appointed as the personal representative.

The personal representative is responsible for finding all of the assets of the estate such as bank accounts, houses, and retirement accounts and settling valid debts of the estate.

Probate requires notifying all known creditors and posting an obituary in a newspaper to give any unknown creditors a chance to make a claim against the Estate. The date of the newspaper posting starts a four-month creditor period in which all claims are presented to the estate. Creditor claims received after the four-month period are disallowed.

After the creditor period, ends and all of the assets of the Estate have been collected the personal representative will have to settle with all creditors of the estate.