Being a personal representative of a deceased individual’s estate is no insignificant role. It generally has a variety of very important and impactful administrative tasks associated with it. These tasks being done correctly can be vital in things going the way they are supposed to with a person’s estate following their death and in the avoidance of unnecessary probate problems.
Thus, it is of great importance for a personal representative to be up to the job. Some traits that can be important ones for a personal representative to have include:
- Strong organizational skills.
- Good financial acumen.
- Sound judgment.
- Strong integrity (so as not be tempted to misuse their role for personal gain).
- Good communication skills (for both communicating with the estate owner during their lifetime and with the estate owner's relatives and beneficiaries after the estate owner's death).
When a person is picking who they will name in their estate plan as personal representative, it can be important for them to think about whether the individual they are considering has the traits necessary to be a good personal representative. A person could be leaving their estate in a very vulnerable position in the future if they select a personal representative ill-suited for the role. Attorneys can provide individuals with advice and guidance when it comes to big estate planning decisions, such as the decision of who to select as a personal representative.
When a person has been named as a personal representative, it can be vital for them to carefully consider whether they would be able to be a good personal representative before accepting the role. Committing mishaps in relation to a loved one's estate not only could leave a person feeling bad emotionally, it could also subject them to significant legal difficulties.
Now, when a person has accepted a personal representative role they were named for and they have some uncertainties regarding how best to handle the role, they do not simply have to guess and hope for the best. They can consult with an experienced estate administration lawyer for guidance on their role and how best to meet its responsibilities.
Source: CNBC, “The other side of a will: Serving as executor to an estate,” Shelly Schwartz, Oct. 3, 2015