A Personal Representative can be any individual who is sane, above the age of 18, and who is not a felon and has never been convicted of any crime “involving moral turpitude”. Crimes involving moral turpitude are crimes such as fraud and perjury, crimes that inherently involve lying and dishonesty. A Personal Representative can also sometimes be a nonprofit corporation or a professional service corporation that is made up exclusively of attorneys.
That is who can be your personal representative, but who should?
Commonly most married couples will choose their spouse as their personal representative. This is because this is someone with whom you would have spoken with about your plans for burial, who has a wealth of knowledge about your family and property, and who you would trust to be responsible with all that you own and who would honor the duty you are giving them.
You may have a first choice in mind, however, we encourage you to nominate an alternative should either both spouses die at the same time, such as in a common accident, or is unable to carry out the duties of the personal representative due to grief or some other incapacity. There is also the possibility that an individual who has not been taking proper care and upkeep of their estate plan to have named someone as their personal representative who has died.
A Personal Representative primarily deals with two things upon your death. Collecting the assets of your estate, and distributing them. The probate process for administering the estate, for which your personal representative is responsible requires your personal representative to be responsible, requires tracking and administering your assets including bank accounts as well as any stocks, litigation claims, government benefits. While your personal representative does not need to be an accountant, as they may use estate funds to hire professionals, you should consider how organized your future personal representative will be. You should also make sure that your personal representative is aware or will have access to documentation of your accounts and assets. You may also want to include information about online accounts, such as social networking and email accounts, with directions for your personal representative to close down or keep up after your death.
If you have questions or concerns about Wills or Probate, call Limitless Law PLLC at (360) 685-0145 or use the “Ask an Attorney” link on our website to contact us today!