woman with an estate plan

How to Choose Your Personal Representative

Estate planning can provide a range of benefits, including protecting a future you want for yourself, your family, and your loved ones. It will involve the selection of trusted individual that will be tasked with important roles in safeguarding your wishes. For instance, the personal representative of your estate will play a critical part in the successful administration of your estate. The personal representative has a lengthy list of responsibilities and the decision of who you will select to fill this role should not be taken lightly.

How to Choose Your Personal Representative

To choose your personal representative, consider the nature of the personal representative role and what the job entails. This person will be responsible for notifying creditors of the estate, paying outstanding debts of the estate, filing taxes for the estate, gathering and protecting assets of the estate, reporting to the probate court, and distributing the assets of the estate according to the terms of the will. This is an extensive list of important duties. The wrong personal representative could cause serious delays in the probate process if things aren’t organized and processed as they should be.

This is why your personal representative should, above all else, be trustworthy. He or she will be tasked with handling both personal and financial affairs. He or she should be responsible and available to carry out the necessary tasks. Organization can prove invaluable in the estate administration process, so having a personal representative that can maintain order is also beneficial.

You should also consider where your selection for personal representative lives. Many states may allow you to select an out of state resident to serve as personal representative of your estate, but, for practical reasons, this may not be ideal. Having someone located close by can be easier as he or she will likely need to attend probate court hearings and it also means he or she will likely be close to the bulk of your estate’s assets and, thus, more available to manage and safeguard.

Additionally, considering things like a person’s age and wellbeing is also advisable in the selection of a personal representative. If someone is older or has health concerns, he or she may not be available or up to taking on the role of a personal representative. In any event, however, you should name a secondary personal representative to serve in the event that your first choice turns out to be unwilling or unable to take on the role when the need arises.

Whoever you select as a personal representative should be aware of your selection. You should discuss the decision with him or her as well as what the role would entail. Make sure that this is something he or she is willing to take on.

Estate Planning Attorneys

At OC Wills & Trusts, we are here to help our clients through all of the important decisions that can have substantial impacts on an estate plan. As trusted estate planning legal counsel, we take our responsibility to serve the best interests of our clients very seriously. Contact us today.