Attorney & Mediator
Attorney & Mediator

How to choose a Personal Representative

When you are establishing a Last Will and Testament – one of the issues that you confront is the selection of a Personal Representative. If you are part of a couple, you will usually select one another. Yet, you really need to select an alternative to serve in the event that the person you have chosen is not able to serve.

While it may seem logical to select a family member to serve in this capacity – his or her expertise will determine how quickly and/or smoothly the process is completed. If the individual selected has limited bookkeeping or money management skills, or is very busy – the process could be slowed down. Additionally, the selection of one family member could place him or her in the middle of a family disagreement.

If the assets of the estate are depleted without leaving sufficient funds to pay the inventory fee or the estate taxes, the Personal Representative could be personally liable.

It should be remembered that this is less of an honor and more of a job than most people anticipate. It is time consuming and it is an enormous responsibility.

The qualities of a good Personal Representative include:

• Trustworthy – this individual will be entrusted with property and cash assets
• Fair – he or she should not show favoritism to one beneficiary over another
• Common sense – this is a must – the individual should show practical common sense for getting the job done
• Strong and/or tough – this individual may be placed in the center of debates and arguments concerning the distribution of your estate and he or she must be able to make the hard decision and stick with it.