Six things to think about when choosing a Personal Representative in your Will

Six things to think about when choosing a Personal Representative in your Will

Picking a personal Representative for your will

One of the most important decisions you will make when having your Will drafted is deciding who will serve as the Personal Representative. The Personal Representative is the person who is legally responsible for ensuring that a probate is opened, your assets are properly distributed pursuant to the terms of your Will, and that your estate is closed within the statutory time period. Obviously, there is a considerable amount of responsibility that accompanies acting as a PR. Below are a few considerations to keep in mind when making your decision.

  1. Think about the most responsible person you know. This may be a family member or a close friend. Ideally, this individual can handle basic financial matters and is organized enough to meet deadlines imposed by the court.
  2. Will your PR be around when you die? Choosing a PR who is your age or even a bit younger
    can be beneficial, especially as you get older.
  3. Location is important too. If your estate will need to be liquidated, i.e. assets sold or otherwise disposed of, consider someone who lives nearby in order to minimize their travel costs while arranging to sell your assets.
  4. While it may seem obvious, your Personal Representative must be eighteen years old.
  5. Serving as a Personal Representative can be stressful. Choosing someone who is mature and levelheaded will ensure that your probate is handled quickly and efficiently.
  6. Perhaps most importantly, you should ask if the individual(s) you have in mind are actually willing to serve as your Personal Representative. After all, the best candidate in the world won’t be of much use if they refuse your appointment.

With these considerations in mind you will be much better prepared when you meet with your estate planning attorney. Even after you’ve had your Will drafted or updated you should check in with your attorney every few years to make sure your choice of Personal Representative is still the best fit for you and your situation.

When Should a Personal Representative Use a Probate Attorney?

Estate Planning Attorney_Helena_ Probate Attorneys_Kelby R. Fischer,Attorneys at Law Helena MT 59601

The short answer is: most of the time.

The slightly longer answer is: whenever you have questions or need assistance in settling an estate.

If you are a Personal Representative or Executor of a decedent’s estate, there is a good chance you have recently lost someone you loved. This can be a confusing and stressful time, and help may be very welcome during these situations.

Here are just a few reasons to use a probate lawyer:

  • If the decedent owned a business a probate attorney can assist with the valuation and sale of the business.
  • If there are family members who are going to contest the will a probate attorney can advise and represent the Personal Representative through the process.
  • If the estate is insolvent or does not have enough money to pay all of the decedent’s debts you should get advice from a probate lawyer before paying any of the creditors.
  • If the estate is large and owes federal or state taxes, you should retain legal and tax counsel.
  • A probate attorney can advise you when the decedent’s property is transferred through contracts, living trusts, transfer on death (T.O.D./P.O.D.) designations or joint ownership.
  • To help you navigate all of the various requirements under the Montana Uniform Probate Code.

Remember, the main reason to retain an attorney who specializes in probate is to help settle the estate as quickly, easily, and inexpensively as possible. The cost of hiring a probate attorney is an expense of the estate, and thus is paid out of the estate, not your own pocket.