Your estate plan should contain more than a will. However, this document is the element that goes through probate with the guidance of a personal representative.
A probate judge’s responsibility is to ensure that what you set out in your will gets done. The person responsible for these things is the personal representative, and you get to designate who that is within your will.
What is the role of a personal representative?
The personal representative takes your estate through probate. The court allows the personal representative to contact heirs and work with creditors to settle debts. The personal representative should appear before the judge when necessary and provide documentation of every transaction and action taken concerning the dispensation of your estate.
Who should you choose?
The person responsible for your estate should have the emotional and mental capacity to handle the task. Many people appoint a surviving spouse or partner as the personal representative. Others may choose an adult child who they deem most capable of taking control of the matters as dictated in the will.
You may want to select a professional to administer your estate after death. A third-party personal representative may prove better equipped to handle the court proceedings and any kind of squabbles that may arise once the court opens probate and the directives in the will need to be followed.
Regardless of who you choose, let that person or persons know when you prepare your estate plan. You need to ensure that your nominee wants the job and does not cause an issue when probate opens by stepping down from the duties.