Choosing a personal representative is an essential part of estate planning. According to Forbes, a personal representative is responsible for locating assets as well as debts, providing your will to the court for review, paying taxes, valuing the estate, and many other tasks. Because this is such a significant responsibility, choosing the right personal representative is crucial.
While it may be tempting to bestow these duties on close relatives, that might not be the best option if they lack the qualities necessary to do the job. The following are a few traits personal representatives must have to ensure your estate is in good hands.
An eye for detail
Your personal representative does not need to have a high-level of financial or estate planning knowledge (although it is definitely helpful). However, the person must be fastidious when it comes to the details of your estate and the tasks necessary for administering it. Depending on the size of your estate, there may be a massive amount of work necessary. Your representative will need to submit forms to the court, track down creditors, locate missing assets, as wells as many other processes. Because accuracy is a must, you want to choose a person you feel confident in.
Proximity to your estate
Your representative does not need to live in the same city or state as you, but choosing a person that lives far away will complicate matters. It is easier for your representative to attend hearings and perform estate planning processes when they live nearby. Adding travel time on top of the many other tasks will only put more pressure on your representative. You do not need to make location the deciding factor, but it is something to consider.
Commitment to the process
While smaller estates can be administered quickly, more complex matters can stretch on for years. The person you choose must be in it for the long haul, regardless of how long everything takes. The person should also be younger than you, which ensures they are available and able to perform the duties asked of them.