When you create an estate plan, you have to make a lot of important decisions. You decide who you will give your assets to when you die. You decide who will receive your classic car collection or your keepsake jewelry. You decide what your end-of-life care wishes are. You also decide who will act as your personal representative, the person who will manage distributing your estate after you die.
You may feel uncertain about who your personal representative (otherwise, known as your executor) should be. Whom should you pick? What qualities make a good personal representative for an estate?
Choosing a personal representative for your estate
Here are some qualities that make someone a good personal representative for your estate:
- Someone who is responsible, who can handle estate matters quickly, who can communicate well with beneficiaries and who can make hard decisions when necessary
- Someone in good financial standing, someone who won’t be tempted to take more assets than you’ve given to them and who has a good credit history.to acquire a bond to protect the interests of the estate and its beneficiaries
- Someone who is younger than you are, who is more likely to outlive you
- Someone who won’t create drama among your beneficiaries, who won’t use being your executor as a chance to get revenge on a family member or sibling
- Someone who won’t be disqualified, such as a non-U.S. citizen, someone under 18 or a former felon
- Someone who is patient and emotionally grounded, who can handle showing tough love to beneficiaries if needed
Changing your personal representative
As you get older, you may reconsider who is your personal representative. If the person whom you have named as your personal representative dies before you do, you will have to select someone else. So you should revisit your estate plan if you need to change your personal representative.
You want to ensure you take the time to name the right personal representative for your estate. You want to feel peace of mind that you have picked someone who will handle your estate assets well and will follow your wishes when distributing your estate after your death.