Watching Over Your Estate

9 August 2023
 Categories: Law, Blog


Appointing someone to oversee an estate as a personal representative or executor is a crucial decision in the estate planning process. The chosen individual will be responsible for managing and distributing the assets according to the deceased person's wishes and the applicable laws. It's important to make the right choice in a personal representative. Read on for some advice in that regard.

  • Trustworthiness and Integrity: The personal representative should be someone you trust implicitly to act honestly and in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries. Look for someone with a track record of integrity and financial responsibility.
  • Organizational and Managerial Skills: Handling an estate requires organization, attention to detail, and the ability to manage complex tasks. The chosen representative should be capable of keeping track of assets, financial records, legal documents, and deadlines.
  • Familiarity with the Deceased's Affairs: Ideally, the executor should have some familiarity with the deceased's financial affairs, including knowledge of assets, debts, and estate planning documents. This familiarity can make the administration process more efficient.
  • Availability and Willingness: Serving as a personal representative can be time-consuming and emotionally challenging. The chosen person should be willing and available to take on this responsibility.
  • Impartiality and Fairness: The personal representative should be impartial and treat all beneficiaries fairly, without favoritism or bias.
  • Legal and Financial Knowledge: While it's not a strict requirement, having some legal and financial knowledge can be beneficial for understanding the complexities of the estate administration process. If the estate is particularly complex or significant, professional assistance from an attorney or financial advisor may be necessary.
  • Communication Skills: Effective communication is vital, as the representative will need to interact with beneficiaries, creditors, and potentially legal professionals during the estate administration process.
  • Age and Health: Consider the prospective personal representative's age and health. They should be of legal age, and it's preferable to choose someone who is likely to outlive the deceased to ensure continuity.
  • Residency Requirements: Some jurisdictions have residency requirements for personal representatives. Ensure that the person you choose meets these requirements.
  • Consent of the Representative: Before appointing someone as a personal representative, it's essential to confirm their willingness to take on the role. Administering an estate is a significant responsibility, and the person should agree to assume this duty.
  • Relationship Dynamics: Consider the dynamics between the personal representative and the beneficiaries. It's essential to choose someone who can handle potential conflicts and disputes with sensitivity and diplomacy.

Speak to an estate planning attorney for more information.