When you begin the estate planning process in California, you will appoint a personal representative to act as the administrator of your affairs upon your death or incapacitation.
Choosing the right person for the job is essential for making sure your end-of-life care meets your standards and your assets go to your beneficiaries according to your wishes after your passing.
Responsibilities of an estate administrator
As administrator of the estate, your personal representative takes on several duties. He or she must actively work to inventory and protect your assets, settle your debts with creditors, file your taxes, distribute your property to beneficiaries and finalize your case in probate court. Therefore, you must choose a qualified, capable and responsible individual.
Traits to look for in your personal representative
Integrity: Your representative will have access to your assets and accounts. It is important that he or she is trustworthy.
Resiliency: Settling an estate is hard work, especially for someone dealing with the emotional pain of loss. Your representative should be confident, comfortable and able to keep the probate process moving along on schedule.
Availability: Handling your affairs may take considerable time and effort, depending on the complexity of your estate. Your chosen administrator should understand and agree to the time commitment ahead of the appointment.
Your last will serves as your final commitment to your loved ones. The last thing you want is tension and conflict in your family. Therefore, you should do your due diligence and carefully consider your options when choosing your personal representative.