Who can be my estate’s representative?

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2023 | Estate Planning

Whether you have a will or not, the law has specific procedures to properly deal with your estate’s administration. A vital step in this process is appointing someone to represent your estate. This person is usually responsible for completing necessary tasks for both the simplified and formal probate processes.

You can name a person for this role in a will, but you should choose a person considering the proper order of priority imposed by the law. The estate representative can be the following, depending on the circumstances:

  • Surviving spouse or partner
  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Other descendants
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Descendants of siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Descendants of grandparents
  • Children or descendants of a predeceased spouse or partner
  • Parents of a predeceased spouse or partner
  • Descendants of the predeceased spouse or partner’s parents
  • Guardian or conservator
  • A public administrator
  • Your creditors
  • Other entities or individuals with the legal right to act as the representative

This prioritization list helps the court decide who to appoint as the representative if you die without a will or naming someone for the role. Sometimes, selecting someone to represent your estate can be unclear, even after indicating them in your will. Complications can arise from disputes between heirs or potential conflicts of interest due to the situation.

Regularly updating your will

If you wish to choose who will represent your estate after you pass on, you should regularly revisit your will or estate plan and update information as needed. Doing so can help modify outdated details and clauses that may cause issues in the future.

Additionally, remember that being an estate representative is a significant undertaking, requiring organizational skills, time and effort. Choosing someone based on their ability to take on these duties could be wise to avoid causing problems later on.