Yes. Serving as Personal Representative is voluntary. Whether to take on the responsibility may involve several considerations.
One thing to consider is that the decedent usually put thought into who was named Personal Representative. The decedent may have felt the named Personal Representative would deal with the family well, had a good business head, and is trustworthy.
The job brings with it special responsibilities. A Personal Representative has a fiduciary duty, meaning he or she must act in the best interest of estate beneficiaries and creditors. Failure to meet the fiduciary duties can result in personal liability. So there are some risks associated with taking the job. But for most people, the risks are minimal and can often be minimized by working closely with an attorney experienced in probate matters.
Douglas N. Kiger, Attorney at Law
Blado Kiger Bolan, Tacoma, Wash.