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The Personal Representative In A Probate Proceeding - Defined

What does the Personal Representative, i.e., PR, Administrator or Executor responsible for? Bottom line, all you need to know as an investor is the court has awarded the PR absolute authority to sell the house. Your job is to contract it and buy it or assign to another all cash buyer. This is the crux of Probate Real Estate investing.

In common law jurisdictions, a personal representative is either an executor for the estate of a deceased person who left a will or the administrator of an intestate estate. In either case, a surrogate court of competent jurisdiction issues a finding of fact, including that a will has or has not been filed, and that an executor or administrator has been appointed. These are often referred to as “letters testamentary“, “letters of administration” or “letters of representation“, as the case may be. These documents, with the appropriate death certificate, are often the only license a person needs to do the banking, stock trading, real estate transactions, and other actions necessary to marshal and dispose of the decedent’s estate in the name of the estate itself.

As a fiduciary, a Personal Representative has the duties of:

    1.    Loyalty
    2.    Candor & Honesty
    3.    Good Faith

In the U.S., punctilio of honor, or the highest standard of honor, is the level of scrupulousness that a fiduciary must abide by.

Types of Personal Representatives include:

    •    Executor or executrix (term for females)
    •    Alternate executor
    •    Administrator
    •    Ancillary administrator
    •    Public administrator
    •    Guardian
    •    Conservator

The decedent’s usually indicate who they wish to be in charge of their estate. This individual will be known as the executor of the estate. Sometimes, there is also an alternate executor named in case the executor chooses not to or cannot perform the probate duties.

If the person in charge is female, she is known as the executrix. If the person in charge is male, he is known as the executor. If the decedent did not leave a will, any person can petition the court to be in charge of the estate. However, the court prefers a blood relative to become the administrator of the estate. In this situation if the person in charge is female, she is known as the administrix and if it is a male, he is known as the administrator. 

A couple of important documents you should be aware of are The Petition of Probate and The Letter Testamentary. The Letter or Testamentary gives the PR the authority, and the Petition for Probate gives the exact name and address of the Personal Representative. It’s important to note that these 2 documents will both be found in the Probate case files.


At, our goal is to pair REALTORS and investors with the Personal Representative by compiling a list of recent filings in your area. For expert consultation on how you can capture your share of this niche market by identifying probate opportunities in your market, visit our website or give us a call at 800-307-9124 for expert consultation. 

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