No Personal Representative? Not a Problem!

Part of creating an estate plan involves choosing the person who will act as your Personal Representative or “executor” after you pass away. This person will make sure your wishes as expressed in your will are respected. Their responsibilities include identifying and collecting your assets, paying your debts and taxes, and distributing your assets to whomever you have selected to receive them.


Most people select a family member or trusted friend to be their Personal Representative. The Personal Representative needs to be someone extremely trustworthy, Also, it helps to have some financial and legal knowledge, although you need not expect your Personal Representative to be an expert in all areas of estate administration, such as legal, filing a tax return, or selling real property; they can hire third-party professionals with your assets to assist them in administration. However, not everyone has someone they feel is a suitable option. That is okay! In fact, some people find that choosing one of the following alternatives is better for them in the long run even if they have a relative or friend who could do the job.


  1. Your Bank


You could potentially name your bank as your Personal Representative, if they provide fiduciary services (not all banks have this option). Naming your bank may be helpful because you do not have to worry about outliving your named Personal Representative and needing to choose another one. Banks that provide these services would have experience handling estates and have checks and balances to ensure that everything is properly managed. If you consider naming your bank, you should meet a bank employee that works in fiduciary services before finalizing your documents, because there are often estate valuation minimums, document language requirements, and other stipulations that cause banks to not accept your estate for fiduciary services.


  1. A Trust Company


Estate administration is one of the main services provided by trust companies, so they have a lot of experience and knowledge doing it. Like a bank, you do not have to worry about outliving a single individual and having to choose another person. Trust companies are a great option because they are so experienced, they will know how to handle complicated issues that may arise. However, if you consider naming a trust company, like banks, you should meet a trust officer before finalizing your documents, because trust companies often have estate valuation minimums, document language requirements, and other stipulations that cause trust companies to not accept your estate for fiduciary services.


  1. Your Professional Advisors


Have you worked with a Certified Personal Accountant, Financial Advisor, Attorney, or other professional on your road to reaching your financial goals? Your professional advisors may agree to serve as your offer Personal Representative for which they are paid. Your professional advisors are already familiar with your situation, so they come into the role with a great advantage. It is also helpful that they already have knowledge about planning, tools, and best practices. Before naming your professional advisor, you should always confirm that they could provide this service to your estate, as there may be securities regulation restrictions, or other legal prohibitions to them accepting a fiduciary role for your estate.


Making Up Your Mind

Every person’s estate planning calls for solutions to unique situations and challenges. Some types of Personal Representative’s may work better with a certain set of distribution rules to your beneficiaries than other types of Personal Representatives, If you need help deciding which of these alternative Personal Representative options is right for you, you need to talk to an experienced estate planning attorney. At Barlow Anderson, we have extensive experience in this field. If you have questions about estate planning and choosing a Personal Representative, or if you are ready to partner with us to create a plan, we invite you to contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!