On January 24, 2016

How to Choose an Executor or Personal Representative for an Estate

How to Choose an Executor or Personal Representative for an Estate

A central part of estate planning can be selecting the right executor and/or personal representative to carry out your wishes in the future. While you may have some ideas of who to appoint to these positions, below are some specific tips to keep in mind when making these selections to ensure you choose the best person (or people) to fulfill these roles.

Selecting Executors & Personal Representatives

When it comes to choosing the best person to serve as your executor or personal representative down the line, it’s generally best to select someone who:

  • Is responsible and organized – The executorship role (as well as the role of personal representative) comes with a lot of responsibilities, including some time-sensitive duties, like notifying beneficiaries of probate proceedings, notifying creditors of the death, handling creditors’ claims, covering the estate tax obligations, etc. To effectively manage and meet all of these responsibilities, the executor will need to be organized and highly competent at multi-tasking. Without these qualities, it’s far more likely that mistakes will be made during the estate administration process – and that an estate may incur additional liabilities.
  • Is reliable and trustworthy – An executor will also need to be someone who can be trusted to set aside his own interests and promote the best interests of the estate and all associated beneficiaries. If an unreliable and untrustworthy person ends up filling this role, it’s far more likely that an estate will be mishandled, that beneficiaries will not receive some or all of the assets intended for them, etc.
  • Is available and willing to hold the position – Even if your choice for an executor is responsible, organized, reliable and trustworthy, (s)he also must  be available and willing to step into the role of the executorship. In other words, it’s important to be aware that your selections for executors have an option to turn down this role.

Selecting Executors & Personal Representatives: More Important Info

  • Be sure to name secondary & tertiary options – Your first choice for an executor (or personal representative) may not be alive or available to take on this role when the time comes. So, it’s important to name a second and even third choice; if you don’t, it could be left up to the court to select the person who will fulfill this role.
  • Consider whether co-executors or co-personal representatives may better serve your needs and wishes – Your choice in an executor does not have to be limited to a single person. You can split the responsibilities between two co-executors, and one of these parties could be a professional – like an experienced estate lawyer – who can be pivotal to overseeing that your estate is properly settled.
  • Regularly review your will and estate plan – As life changes, so do relationships. This can mean that, in a year, five years, etc., you may want someone other than the named party to be your executor. So, be sure to regularly review and update your estate plan so that your current wishes are always reflected in it.

Contact a Denver Estate Planning Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

When you are ready to develop, revise or administer an estate plan, you can turn to the Denver estate planning attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC.

To discuss your best estate planning options, contact us today to set up an initial consultation with one of our lawyers. Schedule this meeting by calling us at (303) 741-2400, or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Estate Administration, Estate Planning, Probate Litigation, Trustees, Executors & Fiduciaries