Estate Planning: Deciding on a Personal Representative

Aug 28, 2018


Making the decision to have a Last Will and Testament is simple. Most people understand the importance of proper estate planning. (Estate Planning: What Do I Need and Why?) However, deciding who should act as the personal representatives of your estate should be given some serious thought.


A personal representative is the person you appoint in your Will to handle your estate once you pass away. It is recommended to also appoint an alternate personal representative in the case that your first choice is unable or unwilling to act. If you do not have a Last Will and Testament, the court will appoint a personal representative for your estate. (What Happens if You Die Without a Will?)


The personal representative’s responsibilities will vary with each estate, but commonly they will include the following:

Locating Will if one was drafted

Obtaining Death Certificates

Identifying and locating assets

Deciding whether to hire an attorney to handle probate

Managing assets and distributing assets

Maintaining finances and financial records


Since your personal representative is going to be responsible for so many important aspects of your estate, it is imperative that they are up to the task. Not only do they have to be willing to take on such a responsibility, but they should also possess at least some of the following characteristics:



Can Maintain Composure

Can Resolve Conflict




Hopefully you have someone in your life who possess some of these qualities that you can count on as your personal representative. Dealing with all the aspects of your estate on top of your death can be overwhelming. If you don’t have anyone in your life that you feel would make a good personal representative or you just don’t want to burden your loved ones, you could look into having a company act as your personal representatives. However, Corporate Personal Representatives are expensive, can lead to a prolonged probate administration and could come across as insensitive.


Planning for your death may not be something that you want to do, but it is definitely something that you need to do. Choosing a personal representative of your estate is a good first step. Pedersen Law Office, LLC offers free consults in all of our areas of practice and will meet with you personally to discuss your specific circumstances and see what options are right for you. Our law office serves the communities of Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh, Green Bay and their surrounding areas.

Category: Wills & Trusts

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