Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Friday, October 30, 2020

Choosing the Personal Representative for Your Estate

Congratulations on taking on the critical task of estate planning! You are putting legal tools in place that will help protect not only your future but that of those you hold nearest and dearest. Along the road of estate planning, there will be many important decisions that need to be made. Each can have far-reaching impacts and should be considered with great care. This includes choosing who will take on the responsibility of personal representative for your estate after you pass. While many people automatically defer to family such as a spouse or an adult child, which may very well be good choices, there are several important factors to consider when choosing the personal representative for your estate beyond which choice may be merely convenient.

Choosing the Personal Representative for Your Estate

The personal representative plays a very important role in both the management and distribution of an estate after a person passes. With estate planning, you are empowered with the ability to select who will take on this vital role. Those who do not choose a personal representative miss out on a great opportunity and the choice will likely be decided on by a court.

First and foremost, you should select a personal representative who is trustworthy. This is a person who will be tasked with handling a range of personal and financial affairs after you pass away. Of course, you want someone who you can trust. In fact, this is one of the reasons so many people select family members to become personal representatives. Not only may you find a relative more trustworthy, but you may also find that a family member may have a better understanding of your intentions and personal wishes as they carry out the terms of your estate plan.

Choosing a family member, however, may have unforeseen, and unfortunate, side effects. Family dynamics can be tricky under the best of circumstances. Following the death of a loved one, relationships between family members can be strained, to say the least. Choosing a family member as your personal representative may trigger feelings of favoritism, marginalizing other loved ones. If you worry about something like this happening, it may be better to go outside the family, to a neutral, disinterested party to assume the role.

You will also want someone responsible to serve as the personal representative. Not many people realize the full extent of a personal representative’s duties. He or she will be charged with submitting your will to the court for probate and will then take on the management of your finances and the bulk of your estate to properly manage and distribute to the appropriate beneficiaries. This not only means the person should be responsible, but he or she should also be well-organized.

Logistical concerns should also be taken into account. It is often better to select a personal representative that lives close by. This can make it easier to manage the estate and make any necessary court appearances.

You should also consider the age and well-being of a prospective personal representative. While a bit morbid, you will want to select someone who will be alive and well and up to the task of a personal representative in the future. In any event, it is usually prudent to list an alternate personal representative who will serve should your first choice be unable or unwilling to serve.

Estate Planning Attorneys

At Hyden, Miron & Foster our team of dedicated estate planning attorneys remains steadfast in its commitment to being mindful of the critical details that come into play when estate planning. We develop comprehensive estate plans specifically tailored to meet your needs. Contact us today.

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