A personal representative is a fiduciary who shall observe the standards of care applicable to trustees under A.R.S. § 14-7402 and the duties of accounting applicable to trustees as provided in A.R.S. § 14-7403. A personal representative has the duty to settle and distribute the estate of the decedent in accordance with the terms of any probated and effective Will and Arizona law as expeditiously and efficiently as is consistent with the best interests of the estate.
The personal representative shall use the authority conferred by Arizona law, the terms of the Will, if any, and any order in proceedings to which the personal representative is a party for the best interests of successors to the decedent’s estate. A.R.S. § 14-3703.
The personal representative shall proceed expeditiously with the settlement and distribution of a decedent’s estate and, except as otherwise specified or ordered in regard to a supervised personal representative, do so without adjudication, order or direction of the Court, but he may invoke the jurisdiction of the Court to resolve questions concerning the estate or its administration. A.R.S. § 14-3704.
The personal representative’s duties include, but are not limited to the following:
1. At the time of appointment as personal representative, preparing a Notice to Creditors, publishing it in a newspaper and delivering or mailing the Notice to known creditors of the decedent and other persons entitled to notice. A.R.S. § 14-3801.
2. Not later than 30 days after being appointed, a personal representative must notify the heirs and devisees about the appointment of the personal representative as the personal representative of the estate of the decedent. A.R.S. § 14-3705.
3. Within 90 days after appointment, a personal representative, who is not a special administrator or a successor to another representative who has previously discharged this duty, shall prepare an inventory of property owned by the decedent at the time of death, listing it with reasonable detail, and indicating as to each listed item, its fair market value as of the date of the decedent’s death, its nature as community or separate property and the type and amount of any encumbrance that may exist with reference to any item. The personal representative may file the original of the inventory with the court and send a copy of the inventory only to interested persons who request it; or, if he elects not to file the inventory with the court, he must deliver or mail a copy of the inventory to each of the heirs in an intestate estate, or to each of the devisees if a Will has been probated, and to any other interested persons who request it. A.R.S. § 14-3706.
4. If the personal representative becomes aware of any property not included in the original inventory or if the personal representative learns that the value or description indicated in the original inventory for any item is erroneous or misleading, the personal representative must make a supplementary inventory or appraisement showing the market value as of the date of the decedent’s death of the new item or the revised market value or descriptions, and the appraisers or other data relied upon, if any, and file it with the Court if the original inventory was filed, or furnish copies thereof or information thereof to persons interested in the new information. A.R.S. § 14-3708.
5. Except as otherwise provided by a decedent’s Will, every personal representative has a right to, and shall take possession or control of, the decedent’s property, except that any real property or tangible personal property may be left with or surrendered to the person presumptively entitled to it unless or until, in the judgment of the personal representative, possession of the property by the personal representative will be necessary for purposes of administration. A.R.S. § 14-3709(A).
6. The personal representative shall pay taxes on, and take all steps reasonably necessary for the management, protection and preservation of the estate in the personal representative’s possession. A.R.S. § 14-3709(A).
If the exercise of power concerning the estate is improper, the personal representative is liable to interested persons for damage or loss resulting from breach of his fiduciary duty to the same extent as a trustee of an express trust.