Filed Under (Wills and Estates) on 03-21-2013
One of the major decisions you will make when writing your will is to choose a personal representative. Colorado law uses “personal representative” rather than “executor” as the term to describe the person who will be responsible for your estate after your death. The personal representative pays your debts and taxes, files all the appropriate papers, collects probate assets, locates your beneficiaries, takes your estate through the probate process, and settles spats between your relatives. The personal representative you choose will have to be approved by the probate court.
Can a beneficiary be a personal representative?
Yes. It is common for one of your beneficiaries to be nominated to serve as a personal representative. This person already has a personal stake in your will, so he or she ought to do a good job.
Can my spouse be my personal representative?
Yes, but it’s not necessary. Many people choose their spouse to be their personal representative. Although, if your spouse does not have the business or mediation skills, you can add someone else who does to be a co-personal representative.
What if I don’t know anyone I want to be my personal representative?
Many banks or trust companies can serve in this position for a fee. While they will already be familiar with all the forms and procedures necessary, they may not be able to represent your wishes as well as someone who actually knew you.
On the other hand, for someone with a difficult family, an impartial third-party who will not be pushed around is about the best choice to administer their estate, despite the extra cost.
For more information about writing your will, get “Planning a Will in Colorado”, Bradford Publishing’s Legal Series.