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What are the qualities of an ideal estate representative?

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2023 | Estate Planning, Probate

Dividing a loved one’s estate after they pass can be long and tedious. If a will indicates their wishes, the surviving family members would better know what to do next. However, that is not always the case.

Sometimes, the deceased has no will, and the family must let the law intervene. One of the essential parts of the process is choosing an estate representative. This person will serve as the estate’s administrator.

A will could identify who will take on this role. If not, the court will appoint someone once the estate enters probate. The court usually selects the deceased’s surviving spouse, children or grandchildren to represent the estate.

The ideal estate representative must have the following qualities:

  • Diligent
  • Responsible
  • Trustworthy
  • Organized
  • Committed to the role
  • Transparent throughout the process
  • Communicates updates efficiently with all beneficiaries
  • Impartial and considerate of all heirs’ best interest
  • Accountable for any mistakes that might decrease the estate’s value

Selecting the estate representative might cause disagreements between heirs, potentially due to family disputes or conflicts of interest. Legal counsel could bring clarity during these circumstances.

The estate representative’s job can be difficult

Representing the estate is a challenging job. This person has extensive tasks to complete while meeting deadlines to move the process forward. It also involves considerable paperwork and auditing, ensuring payment of the deceased’s debts before distributing the estate.

Additionally, the representative must sort through the deceased’s belongings to sort out their subscriptions, Social Security benefits and final income tax returns. They are also responsible for noting what assets go to whom and identifying the best way to transfer them.