The PR (family friend) says he is not responsible for maintaining my mother's home or paying the mortgage and utilities. He says there is not enough cash to pay the attorney, court and PR costs, let alone keeping up the house. He says the house is the heirs' responsibility. Do we have to pay the bills and maintain it until the heirs can sell it? Isn't this job part of what we're paying the PR for?
Also, can the PR charge mileage? He also lives out of town. He wants to be paid for coming in town for estate business (on top of his fee).
It may be the PR's job to do this, but if the estate is insolvent, then paying the bills is not the PR's responsibility. The administrative costs are paid off the top of the estate and if there is not enough money in the estate to maintain the home, then the beneficiaries, or some of them, need to pay, or the home can be lost.
The PR is entitled to reimbursement for costs, which would normally include mileage.
I am sorry, as I expect that that was not what you were hoping to hear.
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Why not sell the home to pay the costs and avoid additional expenses that the estate cannot afford?
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Your mother's home is a difficult problem since technically it is not an asset of the estate and belongs to all the heirs of your mother, but unless abandoned by the personal representative, the personal representative should be either preserving it or attempting to sell it if it is a burden. You should consult an attorney who practices probate and real property law to better understand your options at this point. Also it is somewhat unusual that the personal representative is not a family member and lives out of the area. You can consult with your attorney about the personal representative and his/her duties and responsibilities as well.
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Attorney Frederick is correct in his analysis. It is probably not what you wanted to hear, but the PR is not responsible, personally, to cover estate expenses.
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