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Monday, July 19, 2021

How to Choose a Personal Representative

The personal representative of an estate has a lengthy list of important tasks to accomplish in probate proceedings. In fact, while probate is the court-supervised process that follows in the wake of a person’s death, the personal representative is instrumental in helping to ensure that probate goes smoothly, that everything needed gets done, and that things get accomplished without undue delays and complications. Personal representatives play a significant role in the administration of the estates they are appointed to oversee.

Did you know that, with proper estate planning, you can select who you want to serve as the representative of your estate after you pass away? It’s true. One of the great things about estate planning is your ability to plan for and protect a future you want for yourself and your loved ones. Careful and thoughtful selection of your personal representative can save your loved ones a great deal of heartache and stress when they already find themselves facing a difficult loss. Here, we will go over what to consider when you are choosing the personal representative of your estate.

How to Choose a Personal Representative

Personal representatives are tasked with gathering estate assets, managing and inventorying these assets, notifying creditors, paying off valid creditor claims, filing taxes, keeping the court updated, and, towards the end of probate, overseeing the proper distribution of assets to the corresponding beneficiaries. Because the personal representative is to take on all of these to-do list items, there are certain qualities and characteristics that it would be helpful for a personal representative to have.

Organization can be key to ensuring probate goes smoothly. Choose a personal representative who can keep everything orderly and moving forward. It can also be beneficial to have a personal representative with some kind of financial or accounting background. The personal representative will need to file taxes and inventory assets, which can include getting them appraised by experts. Financial savvy and a commitment to order will serve a personal representative and the estate well.

There are also more technical requirements that you must consider in choosing a personal representative. Some states require that a personal representative either live in state or be a family member of the deceased. Consider such requirements in your selection so your selection is honored later on. Logistically speaking, it can also be helpful for a personal representative to live in a state to avoid extended travel and ease of access to the estate assets and court.

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential candidates, talk to these individuals about whether they would be willing to serve as personal representatives. It is a role of great responsibility and not everyone will want to step up and serve. Choose someone who is willing to take on the role. Also, consider selecting an alternate as well in the event that your first selection is either unwilling or unable to serve when the time comes.

Estate Planning Attorney

Do you have an estate plan in place? It is too important to put off. Talk to the team at Monk Law about putting a strong estate plan in place that protects and furthers your goals for the future. Contact Monk Law Firm today.


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