Wills: Picking the Right Personal Representative
As we mentioned in a previous blog post, the personal representative is the person you nominate to follow your recipe. But who should this person be? Your neighbor? Friend? Oldest child? Parent?
According to MCL 700.3204 (Michigan’s Estates and Protected individuals code) a person is not qualified to serve as personal representative if the person is either under the age of 18 or is a person that the court finds unsuitable in formal proceedings. This leaves a lot of people to choose from.
Below are some factors to consider when choosing a Personal Representative:
· Honest and Trustworthy- The personal representative may be managing and overseeing investments and bank accounts.
· Financial Responsibility- The personal representative may be preparing an annual accounting for distribution, distributing assets, and filing tax returns your behalf.
· Experience and Skill- Has the person been a personal representative before? Do they have an estate administration or probate attorney they can ask for help or plan on using one?
· Impartiality- Can the person settle disputes between family members fairly?
· Proximity- is the person close by? Will they have to travel to administer the estate?
· Distractions- Are there work or family obligations for the person? A personal representative has a lot of responsibilities and deadlines that they must meet.
· Willingness- Is the person you have in mind willing to accept the responsibility?
· A Backup- It is highly recommended that you have a second person selected to act as the personal representative if your first is unwilling or unable to act.
Picking the right person to be the personal representative of your estate is one of the most important decisions you will make. The wrong personal representative can mean disaster for your loved ones. Talk to an Estate Planning attorney to help you make the right choice.
Information in this blog post is not legal advice but general information. Contact an estate planning attorney to implement a plan for you.