personal representative

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A personal representative is a person, appointed by will or the court, to administer the decedent's estate. The personal representative may be the executor, who is the person named as such in the decedent's will, or it may be the successor to the executor, or an administrator appointed by the court where the decedent died without a will naming an executor. The terms personal representative, executor, or administrator may be used by the court interchangeably. 

Under the Uniform Probate Code, “a personal representative has the same power over the title to property of the estate that an absolute owner would have.” Although, the personal representative holds the property of the estate in trust for “the benefit of the creditors and others interested in the estate.” This power may be exercised without notice, hearing, or order of court. For example, the personal representative has the power to acquire or dispose of an asset and sell, mortgage, or lease any real or personal property of the estate.

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]