Things to Consider Before Naming a Personal Representative

October 14, 2014

Taking steps to complete an estate plan or draw up a will can be among the most important steps toward protecting your family and your assets. However, they can be very difficult steps to take and often require a great deal of thought and assistance.

For example, there should be several factors taken into consideration when it comes to something as seemingly simple as naming a personal representative. The person in this role will have a number of responsibilities and tasks to complete, so this designation is not one that should be made lightly.

The person appointed to be the personal representative of an estate is usually — though not always — the person named as the executor in a will and he or she will have to manage the administration of an estate. This means this person will be expected to:

  • Manage the assets
  • Locate all the property named in an estate plan
  • Contact creditors
  • Assess insurance coverage
  • Track all transactions affecting the estate
  • Navigate the probate process

These responsibilities should not be taken lightly, nor should they be assigned to someone who is not capable or qualified for the role. California law prohibits certain parties from being named as a personal representative and will typically not allow minors, business partners or non-residents of the U.S. to serve in this role.

People who are developing an estate plan or completing a will may not fully understand what will be required of a personal representative, and this could make it difficult to identify the most appropriate party. This is why many people reach out and consult an attorney when it comes to finalizing their estate plan. Legal guidance can be crucial in helping people make educated decisions that will best protect and reflect their wishes.

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