Tips for Choosing a Personal Representative for Your Estate
As you go through the process of creating an estate plan and drafting a last will and testament, you must select a personal representative who will be responsible for handling all the necessary estate administration processes after your passing.
There are a few legal requirements for serving as a personal representative to administer an estate in Florida. The chosen representative must be either a Florida resident or a close relative of the estate’s owner. In addition, they must be at least 18 years old and mentally and physically capable of serving in this capacity. Florida law also forbids felons from serving as personal representatives. Beyond these basic requirements, the choice is entirely up to you.
How should you choose a personal representative with whom you’ll feel comfortable? Below are a few personal qualities to consider:
- Reliability: Perhaps your highest priority should be to name as your personal representative someone who is good with deadlines and whom you can trust with a considerable amount of responsibility. They will be responsible for filing a lot of paperwork and communicating with courts, creditors and various other parties.
- Organizational skills: You can make matters much easier on your representative by getting all your affairs in order long before you pass away. However, it helps to have a representative who is also highly organized, will not misplace important documents or assets, and will work within the system to make the administration process go as smoothly as possible for your loved ones.
- Good relationships with your family: You should choose someone who you know is on good terms with your beneficiaries. If, for example, you know one of your children has a longstanding feud with a sibling or another family member, it’s probably a good idea to avoid choosing that person to be your representative. In some cases, it can make sense to choose a lawyer or someone else outside your family who can be impartial if conflicts arise.
- Ability to handle the job: Just because a person is considered mentally and physically able by the state, that does not mean they are truly capable of handling the role of personal administrator. Individuals who live far away or simply have too much on their plate might not be your best choice for the role, especially if you have other options available to you.
To learn more about the factors you should consider when choosing a personal representative, contact an experienced Pensacola estate planning attorney with The Law Office of Zachary T. Magaha.