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Choosing a personal representative for your estate

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2024 | Estate Planning News

Part of setting up an estate plan in Colorado is choosing a personal representative, sometimes called an executor. This is a decision that should not be taken lightly.

While a spouse or child is a natural and common choice, you should be sure whoever you choose has the skills and abilities to handle the role of personal representative.

What does a personal representative do?

A personal representative has many duties. They must identify and value the assets you leave behind, handle paying off debts to any creditors and transfer the assets to the property heirs. They must also close out the estate.

This means your personal representative should be someone you trust to perform these duties efficiently, thoroughly and responsibly. Additionally, an ideal personal representative is someone who can treat everyone fairly and neutrally and put any personal interests aside to administer the estate.

In other words, since your personal representative will oversee your assets, they should not be someone you are worried will run off with your assets for themselves.

Legal requirements for serving as a personal representative

Colorado has legal requirements that must be met for someone to be a personal representative. They must be at least 21 years old and of sound mind.

They do not need to reside in Colorado. However, it is recommended that you choose someone who lives nearby to make the process easier since they will likely need to work with local agencies and professionals to complete their duties.

It may help to think of choosing a personal representative as you would choose an employee to work for you. The qualities you look for in a good employee are often the same qualities that make someone a good personal representative.

Some of these qualities include being a good communicator, being organized and being someone that you can trust.

Do I need a backup representative?

Choosing a backup personal representative is a good idea. This prevents the court from having to appoint someone if your personal representative passes away or is otherwise unable to serve when the time comes.