Part of estate planning is naming a personal representative. This person administers aspects of the estate after the passing of the decedent.

This role is vast and can be complex, depending on the situation. It is important that an estate’s owner takes the time to choose the right person for the job.

Responsibilities of a personal representative

According to the Colorado Bar Association, a personal representative is in charge of following the directions and wishes of the decedent. Some of the duties a representative is in charge of include locating, valuing and managing the estate’s assets; identifying and locating the beneficiaries and heirs; distributing assets; paying the estate’s expenses; filing taxes and closing the estate.

The process of estate administration takes time, and the average estate closes in one year. Although a personal representative does receive compensation for their role, this person should understand what responsibility the job entails.

Traits of a good representative

According to Forbes, the court must accept the named personal representative. Because the representative may be spending a lot of time dealing with the court and other administrative duties, it is smart to choose someone that lives in close proximity. The person should have some financial knowledge or be willing to hire someone that does.

A potential representative should understand and respect the decedent’s values and know the family’s situation, as dealing with familial disputes regarding the estate may crop up. The person should be mature but young enough to be alive and cognizant when it is time to administer the estate.

A representative can be an individual or professional such as an attorney or accountant. There can also be a co-executor, and oftentimes there may be a professional and family member or friend named for the roles.