Estate planning involves drafting legal documents that specify your preferences for health care, asset distribution among heirs, and appointment of a guardian for your dependents until they come of age.
It’s a myth that estate planning is only for the uber-rich and old, but that’s incorrect. Estate planning is important for everyone, regardless of age or wealth.
What Is The Importance Of Estate Planning?
Proper estate planning helps you ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones don’t have to deal with any legal complications. Life is full of the unexpected, and you don’t know what’s going to happen the next second.
Creating a comprehensive estate plan is equivalent to preparing for the unexpected, as it ensures the comfort and safety of your loved ones in the event of an unfortunate event.
From identifying all your assets to defining the distribution, estate planning is a lengthy process with much to consider. Plus, there are many things you don’t want to overlook, so it’s understandable if you find it overwhelming. One of the most important considerations that shouldn’t be overlooked is appointing the right personal representative.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Personal Representative
A personal representative is responsible for handling and distributing your assets after you pass away. It’s an important role, and choosing the wrong person could be disastrous. In contrast, if you neglect to choose one, you’re leaving this decision to the court’s discretion, and they might choose someone who falls short of your expectations.
To ease the settlement process and save yourself from unnecessary headaches, opt for estate settlement services as they adhere to your wishes meticulously and settle your estate as efficiently as possible.
Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Personal Representative
If you wish to rely on someone you know, it’s best to set criteria so you determine if they are the right person for this task. Before choosing a personal representative, consider all the factors below.
- Choose someone you trust
Your assets, finances, and internal affairs are sensitive matters and should only be disclosed to someone you trust lest someone takes advantage of you and leave you with nothing.
When looking for a personal representative, trustworthiness is the most important criterion. Choose someone you can trust; someone you know is loyal to you and shares your values, as they’ll be responsible for overseeing your assets and other matters.
Most people choose loved ones, such as their spouse or children, as personal representatives. Those closest to you have a better grasp of your wishes and a more sincere desire to honor and see them through.
If your family, for one reason or another, is at odds with each other, choosing someone who is not a beneficiary and holds no interest in your assets is a better choice. For example, selecting a trustworthy friend can help ensure your property distribution goes according to plan.
- Choose someone with a strong sense of responsibility
In addition to being trustworthy, the chosen person should also have a strong sense of responsibility and an aptitude for this role. Estate settlement is not child’s play, and you should select a person who understands the significance of this role and is willing to put in the required effort to fulfill it.
A personal representative will be responsible for filing your will and managing your assets after passing. It is their responsibility to notify everyone, including your creditors, of your death and divide your estate among your heirs per your wishes.
This process can take months, if not years. So, choose someone who is willing to devote their full attention to this task as early as possible. Often family members aren’t the best fit. So carefully consider your options before deciding.
- Choose an organized person
The appointed must be capable of shouldering heavy responsibilities as they must carry out various obligations. Because after the court determines that your will is valid via the probate procedure, there are several steps to be taken. These involve collecting and cataloging all your assets, canceling all your credit cards, submitting your last tax returns, clearing the funeral expenses and other obligations using your estate funds, and many other responsibilities.
Hence the ideal candidate should be well-organized, meticulous, and adept at handling multiple priorities simultaneously.
- Choose someone who lives close by
Unless they are a member of your immediate family, residents in various states are required to name someone who lives in their state. Furthermore, before appointing a representative, it’s essential to determine whether your state’s legislation has any prerequisites.
You should also consider the logistics and other similar matters before appointing someone as your representative. After all, someone who doesn’t live close by won’t be in the best position to handle all the responsibilities associated with this role.
Regardless, your priority is choosing the best possible candidate. If they do not live in the same state, they may opt for a legal counsel or something similar to deal with all the matters regarding your estate.
- Choose someone young and healthy
Lastly, you should also consider the age and well-being of your prospects. Many tend to designate their parents as personal representatives when preparing an estate plan. However, this is something you must reconsider because as you grow older, your parents are also getting old, and considering their age and state of health, they may not be the perfect candidate.
A younger, healthier individual is preferable when selecting a personal representative since they will be in charge of your legal affairs for a significant period following your death.
You don’t have to be ultra-wealthy or a millionaire to benefit from estate planning, and the process doesn’t need to be costly or time-consuming, either. Preparing your estate plan at your earliest ensure your best interests are secured and your wishes honored in an unexpected situation.
Choosing the right personal representative is critical for successfully implementing your estate plan. After all, letting the wrong person manage your estate and settle your affairs is the perfect recipe for chaos and disaster. Having someone who shares your values manage your estate can spare your loved ones a lot of unnecessary trouble and simplify the estate settlement process.