In estate planning, the role of Personal Representative (sometimes also called an Executor) usually goes to a trusted friend or family member. They’re responsible for protecting your property once you pass away. They’ll guide your estate through probate and administration, ensuring that your debts are paid off and that your loved ones receive what they’re entitled to as directed by your Will.
What Are the Most Desirable Qualities of a Personal Representative (or Executor)?
Under Nebraska law, a Personal Representative (or Executor) must post a bond in order to “qualify” as the Personal Representative of your estate unless the Will or the heirs waive the requirement of a bond. In close family situations, the Testator of the Will often waives the requirement of bond. Therefore, the honesty of the Personal Representative is of the utmost importance to ensure that your assets are properly handled and your estate is properly administered without self-interest for the benefit of your creditors and beneficiaries.
2. Organizational Skills
From locating and safe-guarding your assets to fulfilling court Orders and other legal obligations, the Personal Representative must be organized, calm and coordinated.
To streamline the process, you may choose to organize your accounts and assets into as few locations as possible. A simplified process will help your Personal Representative move forward and ensure your beneficiaries get what they’re entitled to faster.
You also may want to leave written details regarding your assets, debts and the identity of persons with knowledge of your finances (e.g., your CPA) for your Personal Representative to use in administering your estate.
3. Financial Understanding
You may have a diverse financial portfolio that includes property, stocks, and multiple accounts. The Personal Representative must coordinate your finances to ensure your wealth is accounted for and properly distributed.
If necessary, they'll also defend your finances and testamentary wishes. Even with the best estate planning, there may be false creditors who come to collect a non-existent debt or those who might want to challenge your Will.
4. Proximity & Availability
Nebraska law does not require that a Personal Representative live in this state, but sometimes it’s more practical to have an Personal Representative who lives nearby in order to facilitate locating and the safe-keeping of assets and otherwise administering your estate. However, if there are other family members or trusted individuals who can assist the Personal Representative in this regard, then the Personal Representative may live in another state and still fulfill his or her duties as Personal Representative with the help of an attorney and other professionals.
If you need help selecting an Personal Representative (or Executor), reach out to David R. Webb, Attorney at Law. He has over 30 years of experience in estate planning and probate. As a devoted and compassionate lawyer, he works with his clients to ensure that their Will reflects their wishes and will be carried out after their passing. He’ll provide a detail explanation of your options and help you come to the resolution you desire. If you’re in the area of Lincoln, NE, reach out to him at (402) 477-7577. For more information on his fields of practice, including business law and civil litigation, visit his website.