Definition of PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE: A personal representative is a person who has received letters to administer the estate of a decedent.  (New York Estates, Powers & Trusts Law §1-2.13)

Plain English translation: A personal representative is typically the person appointed to be in charge of a decedent’s estate. A personal representative is generally considered either an executor (if the decedent died with a will) or an administrator (if the decedent died without a will).

Upon appointment, a personal representative typically receives either letters testamentary (if the decedent died with a will) or letters of administration (if the decedent died without a will) from the Surrogate’s Court. These letters will grant the personal representative the power to administer the decedent's property.

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