Who to Consider to be Your Personal Representative

May 18, 2015 by Heller Group
Comments Off on Who to Consider to be Your Personal Representative

Its not uncommon for the maker of a Will to name an adult child to be the Personal Representative (PR). That might be a good choice if their temperament, integrity, and skill set allow them to carry out their duties effectively. Your child presumably know your intentions and can readily find the assets that need to be inventoried.

However, if there is bad blood among your children, or if you have a blended family, naming as PR a child who might be part of a future controversy could be a perilous move. Even worse, is naming two rival siblings as “co-personal representatives”. A possible result? Tens of thousands of dollars of the estate, intended to go to the benefit of whom you choose, is squandered in legal fees.

What’s the solution? Choosing a trusted, common-sense friend or relative who doesn’t have a “dog in the fight” might be a sound choice. Another option could be an attorney, financial professional or a bank with a trust department. You might be considering naming an institutional PR (such as a bank or trust company) instead of a flesh-and-blood model. That can carry a high price tag, and in an article I read, it suggests doing that “only when there is severe family dysfunction or you don’t have anyone qualified or who wants to serve”. When using an institutional PR, this also could make sense if there is a blended-family situation.

By choosing outside the immediate family for your PR, parents avoid having to choose between their children so that no one is upset. In essence, you will have given your kids a final gift of having a professional navigate the administration of your estate plan.

Doing research for these blogs was very interesting and informative, not only for me but hopefully for you also. As I mentioned before, these blogs are to be used as a guideline only. It is highly recommended when planning the important function of choosing your Personal Representative, an attorney, accountant or financial advisor should be contacted.

Gary P Hotovec

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