How to Determine Who Should Be Your Personal Representative

How to Determine Who Should Be Your Personal Representative

Choosing a personal representative (some states still call him or her an executor) can be a major decision when it comes to estate planning. This individual is responsible for handling the finalization of your financial affairs, along with carrying out the wishes you’ve outlined in your will and other documents. When you are deciding whom to name as your personal representative, there are several considerations to keep in mind.

First, you should know that almost any resident of Florida who has not been convicted of a felony crime is eligible to be appointed as your personal representative. If you wish to name an individual who lives out of state, he or she must be related to you by blood, marriage or adoption.

Personality traits and skills

Qualities that make for a good personal representative include patience, honesty, organization and dedication. Your personal representative should be personable and ideally get along with your intended beneficiaries. The time after a loved one’s death can be especially stressful and emotional, so it is helpful to have a personal representative who is naturally inclined to quell arguments rather than initiate them.

Additionally, consider a personal representative whose schedule will allow for the handling of your estate. The probate process can continue for months in some cases, and so a relative who travels frequently and works long hours might not be best suited to the job.

Although personal representatives do not have to be skilled in math or have in-depth knowledge of the law, they should be able to understand any limitations in their abilities and recognize when they should seek professional legal counsel. Personal representatives may consult an estate planning attorney, financial adviser, real estate broker or other professionals to assist with the process.

Above all, it’s important to hold a conversation about your choice with both your personal representative and beneficiaries. Being a personal representative is a serious responsibility, and you will feel at ease knowing that the person of your choosing is willing and able to take on the task.

If you would like more information on how to appoint a personal representative to your estate, speak with an experienced Tampa probate administration attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.