Can a personal representative for an estate make all decisions without consulting the heirs

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Can a personal representative for an estate make all decisions without consulting the heirs

Can a personal representative for an estate make all decisions without consulting the heirs. Are the heirs allowed to ask questions of the pr?

Asked on August 7, 2017 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The personal representative needs to act in accordance with the law, with the will (if any), and in the best interests of the heirs, but that's not the same thing as saying he has to consult with the heirs or follow their wishes. For example, the heirs may wish to keep and live in an inherited house, but if there are legitimate bills of the estate, the PR may have to sell the house and use it to pay those bills. While heirs may ask questions of him, he doesn't need to engage in a dialogue with them; again, he is obligated to (in order) obey the law; follow any will; and then act in the heir's best interest (and "best interest" is not the same thing as what they ask for or request).
If the heirs feel the PR is not obeying the law or will or acting in their interests, they could bring a legal action in chancery court seeking to have the PR defend his acts and to hold him accountable for anything improper he did. Ideally, heirs who want to consider this should consult with a probate attorney, but they would be allowed to bring the action themself, on a "pro se" (as own lawyer) basis; to do that, contact the court clerk's office to find out where to get instructions, a copy of the relevant rules, and possibly sample forms. (The court may also have this available online.)


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