Choosing a personal representative is one of the most fundamental elements of any last will. The main characteristics of a good personal representative are good common sense, excellent organizational skills, and integrity.
Some people choose to appoint their spouse, a sibling, or an adult child, while others prefer to nominate a professional (such as a lawyer or accountant). Alternatively, it can simply be a good friend. Whoever you choose should be both competent and trustworthy.
Other things being equal, it often will pay to choose a family member or friend as personal representative for the simple reason that these people expect little – if any – compensation, will respect your wishes, and are generally keen to process things and finalize them as soon as possible. However, keep in mind, the process can be quite administrative and time is often of the essence. You must choose someone who is organizationally reliable. It also makes sense to appoint someone who is living nearby as an executor so that they will be well placed to deal with the management, collection and distribution of the estate’s assets.
Your personal representative must be willing and prepared to carry out the sometimes wide-ranging, sometimes minimal, steps that may be required to finalize your estate. As such, you should always consult your choice of executor before you sign your will so as to be assured that your choice agrees to act as executor.
How Can EstateBee Help You?
For more information on personal representative duties, read some of the other articles on executors, executor duties and probate on this website.
For more information on executors and probating an estate, check out our book entitled How to Probate an Estate – A Step-By-Step Guide for Executors. It explores the process from the moment the deceased passes away right through to the distribution of assets. Items such as death certificates, autopsies, funeral planning and asset management are discussed at length. It will also show you how to initiate and close probate with ease, learn how to locate and manage estate assets, deal with creditors’ claims, taxes, and trusts, avoid the common mistakes made by many personal representative and much more….
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