How to Understand the Personal Representative Role

When you complete your estate planning the core document that you’ll likely complete is a will. In this will you will name a personal representative or an executor who is responsible for estate administration when you pass away. The executor or personal representative is an individual responsible for administering your estate and in creating a will you have the ability to name this person.

Bear in mind that the person selected to serve in the role of personal representative, however, can decline it. Your will should name this person and you should also go the extra step of informing them of your intention to name them. If you have already been named the personal representative of someone’s estate and you have questions about your responsibilities, this is a common issue and one that you should broach with an experienced probate lawyer.

By having a conversation with a family or friend that you wish to name as your personal representative, you will make sure that they understand these responsibilities and are comfortable in serving in this way. Far too many family members find themselves in the difficult situation of attempting to navigate probate when they never anticipated being in this position.

When naming a personal representative you should also think carefully about some of the other issues to address in your estate plan, such as naming a guardian for any minor children or whether or not you intend to make gifts to charity. The establishment of a trust can help to support the will that you create as well. Do not hesitate to get help from an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer when you need to create your estate plan.


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