Most people own something. Whether you have bank accounts, automobiles, or just a few personal belongs, they have to go somewhere when you pass away. During probate, the personal representative of your estate will gather your assets and safeguard them until probate is finished. Personal representatives sometimes have a tough job, especially when dealing with unusual estate assets.
A Personal Representative’s Job
A short list of duties the personal representative takes on includes:
- Administer “the whole personal estate of his decedent,”
- Renew certain bonds, notes, and other financial obligations,
- File lawsuits on behalf of the estate,
- Sell real estate if necessary,
- Execute deeds,
- Manage probate assets,
- Pay valid claims against the estate.
According to the Virginia Bar Association:
“…the executor should remove perishable property from the residence, arrange for the care of pets and safeguard the premises until the remaining property can be removed. As soon as possible, the executor should make sure that all personal property, especially jewelry, antiques, silver and valuable works of art, is security and safely stored and adequately covered by casualty insurance.”
Let’s look at some types of probate assets that might require special care.
Unusual Estate Assets May Waste Away
Assets may lose value due to depreciation or neglect, including:
- Investments. As the market changes, investment strategies may need to change course. Failing to do so could seriously damage the value of the estate.
- Vehicles. Many vehicles depreciate in value over time. For example, cars, trucks, aircraft, boats, and recreational vehicles may need special protection. Additionally, a personal representative may arrange for routine maintenance, annual registrations or licenses, and insurance.
- Real Estate. Whether commercial or residential, property may lose value. This is especially true if the property is vacant.
Unusual Estate Assets May Be Perishable
Some probate assets are particularly susceptible to damage if not properly cared for. Examples of this type of asset include:
- Assets in danger of destruction from naturally occurring events, like hurricanes.
- Art collections that need protection from light and climate.
- Wine collection that need to be maintained in climate-controlled environments.
- Income-producing animals like show dogs, race horses, or cattle.
Unusual Assets May Be Difficult to Value and Sell or Transfer
The personal representative may face some assets that not only fit into the two categories above, but present other problems as well.
An estate could be sitting on a rare book collection or valuable coin collection and not even know it. Before giving the collection a value, the personal representative usually will hire appraisers. Finding a buyer for a collection may take time and hold up the estate.
When handling firearms, the personal representative will have to be aware of the strict rules regarding gun sales.
Perhaps the decedent owns a patent. It may be almost impossible to assign this type of asset a value, but it must be done.
Dealing with a Probate Issue? Hope to Avoid Probate? We Can Help.
At Dillon Law Group, PLC, our attorneys can guide you through probate of a loved one’s estate. Better yet, they can help you develop an estate plan that may help your heirs avoid probate. Give us a call at 757-962-4796 or use our convenient Contact Form. We assist clients in Virginia Beach and Newport News as well as surrounding communities.