Last will and testament document

How to Choose a Personal Representative

William D. Stilley, Esq. July 9, 2021

When you draft your will, you will not only be naming to who you bequeath your assets, you will also be choosing who will administer your estate after you pass. Formerly known as Executors and Executrixes, the person in charge of administering a decedent’s estate is now known as a Personal Representative. The Personal Representative will be in charge of opening bank accounts for the estate to pay bills, working with an attorney to navigate the probate process, and will need to keep family members informed. The choice of a personal representative is a very serious decision and must not be taken lightly. A task as serious as this may seem a bit daunting, so here are some tips to help you choose the right person to be your estate’s personal representative.

Choose someone you trust

This probably goes without saying, but you need to choose someone who you trust will have your estate’s and your family’s best interests in mind. The last thing your family will need after you pass is to have to deal with an unscrupulous person taking charge of your estate.

Choose someone who is responsible with their own money

This one is a no-brainer. You obviously want to choose someone who manages their finances well, otherwise they may not handle the finances of your estate properly. If someone has a large amount of un-justified debt, is late paying bills, or does not invest or save money wisely, they may not be the best choice to oversee your estate.

Choose someone who will contact an attorney after your death

The Probate Process can be very complicated. This is why it is important that your personal representative consults with an attorney upon your death. Choose someone who knows the importance of proper legal counsel and will be willing to seek out a probate attorney.

Choose someone who will work with and listen to attorneys and other professionals

Contacting an attorney is only a small part of the probate process. It is imperative that your personal representative is someone who will listen to the attorney and work well with said attorney as well. The process is already complicated enough, don’t complicate it more by naming someone who will not listen to instructions and will not listen to the advice of an attorney.

Choose someone who isn’t a procrastinator

There are a lot of strict deadlines set by the court during the probate process. It is important that your personal representative is someone who completes tasks in a timely fashion.

There is no legal requirement that the personal representative be a family member, but often times family members are a good choice as they may have a better idea of what the decedents wishes would have been. But if you follow the pointers above, you should have a much easier time choosing your personal representative!

At Stilley Law Office, we handle will drafting and can assist in the process of choosing a personal representative. If you need a will, or other estate planning services, give Stilley Law Office a call at (816)-325-3713 and make an appointment to meet with Mr. Stilley!