There’s a lot of work involved to close out someone’s estate, a fact that is often discovered once the personal representative is knee deep in paperwork and process. Each person who writes a will in California has the opportunity to name who they want in this important role, and this is a consideration that is well worth thinking through carefully.

In addition to filing paperwork, communicating with beneficiaries, and paying out debts owed by the estate, a personal representative might encounter unexpected challenges as they navigate estate administration. Before you name your own personal representative, be sure they are clear about what’s involved in serving and that they know the potential issues.

When done properly and handled by someone with attention to detail, trustworthiness, and knowledge of your affairs, a personal representative can effectively manage key aspects of your estate with ease. But it’s all too often the case that a representative who was not clear on the responsibilities gets in over their head.

Some of the most common risks for a California personal representative include:

  • Disputes with other personal representatives if more than one has been appointed.
  • Difficulty in communicating with heirs who might not understand the timeline or probate process.
  • The time involved to close out a complex estate.
  • The need to file estate tax returns or a final income tax return.
  • Exposure to personal liability, such as if an heir argues that a personal rep has violated ethical rules or laws.

In all these cases, your chosen person representative needs to know the process and what’s required of them in order to be successful. Contact our Pasadena estate planning law firm for a deeper dive into will consideration.

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