Part of the estate planning process is choosing a personal representative. This individual is the person who would administer your estate upon your death.
A personal representative, also called an executor in some states, has many important duties. Keeping in mind the job it entails; it is important to choose the right person for the role.
Duties of the personal representative
According to The Office of the Register of Wills, the personal representative is in charge of carrying out the decedent’s wishes laid out in the will. However, this includes numerous small and big tasks. The PR must locate the named assets, assess their value and keep them safe until distributing to the heirs. If the decedent had property, the PR must maintain its upkeep, including finding homes for any pets and taking care of the mail.
One of the duties is to pay the ongoing bills of the estate and pay off debts that the estate owes. If necessary, the personal representative can sell off assets to pay these debts.
The PR must file taxes for the estate and pay any taxes owed. Once there are no more bills and debts to pay, the personal representative can distribute the assets to the named beneficiaries.
Important qualities and skills to look for
FindLaw discusses some qualities to look for when deciding who to name as the personal representative. Some of these include:
- Attention to detail
- Time management
- Communication skills
The personal representative should have sufficient time to carry out all of the duties. Patience is also a good quality, as the probate process is not quick. Small, simple estates may take months, while more complex estates often take years, to close.