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What are personal representatives permitted to do?

Upon petitioning for administration of an estate in Kentucky, a personal representative may be appointed to manage the affairs of an estate. A personal representative is a fiduciary under Kentucky law and must act with good faith and loyalty with respect to the intent of the testator, whose will must be admitted to probate, and in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries. In doing so, the personal representative has broad discretion to act for the benefit of and otherwise administer the estate unless specifically proscribed by the will.

According to the Kentucky Legislature, a personal representative can perform 23 transactions specifically enumerated. While such actions are authorized not all of them will be applicable in the administration of each estate. Generally, a personal representative is permitted to receive and retain the assets of the estate, satisfy obligations to creditors, pay expenses, sell property and other assets, settle disputes, allocate certain assets as income or principal, defend the estate against claims of creditors or others, sue others on behalf of the estate, and ensure taxes are paid.

A personal representative must also provide notice as required under the law and ensure that a process agent is designated for receiving service of the process for the estate.

While there is no requirement that a personal representative have experience as a professional fiduciary or have expertise in administering the affairs of an estate, compensation may be permissible unless the will does not allow it. With all these duties, a personal representative would do well to seek the advice of professional counsel before or upon appointment.

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