Who Should Be the Personal Representative for a Will in Maryland?

You shouldn’t pick just anyone to be your personal representative and carry out your wishes after your death. Otherwise, the handling of your estate might be put in jeopardy

Choosing who will be the personal representative of your will is a big decision. Because this person will handle matters regarding your estate following your death, your personal representative should be someone you trust and who is capable of rising to the occasion and the responsibility of being a personal representative. While your personal representative does not have to be a Maryland resident, it can make certain matters easier. Once you choose your personal representative, our lawyers will include their name in your last will and testament. If you wish to change your personal representative before your death, we can do so by executing a codicil. If you do not name a personal representative in your will, a judge will do so following your death in Maryland.

To have our Maryland wills and estate planning lawyers review your case for free, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.

Who Should Be the Personal Representative of Your Will in Maryland?

In Maryland, the executor of a person’s estate is known as their personal representative. This person will oversee the distribution of assets within a deceased person’s estate and manage their estate following the testator’s death. In choosing this individual, you should pick someone you trust, someone who lives in Maryland, and someone who is capable of handling the responsibilities involved in being a personal representative.

Someone You Trust

Being someone’s personal representative is a massive responsibility. Because of this, you should choose someone close to you that you trust. With that in mind, many people choose their children, spouses, or siblings to be their personal representatives. If you suspect there will be internal strife within your family regarding the distribution of assets among beneficiaries following your death, you might choose a close friend who is not a beneficiary to be your personal representative. Or, if you do not have surviving family members that you trust, turning to a friend might be the best course of action. Our Baltimore wills and estate planning lawyers can review the capabilities of all those close to you and make a recommendation of who among your loved ones should be named as your personal representative in your will. If you do not trust someone to honor your wishes after your death, they should not be your personal representative.

Someone Who Lives in Maryland

Generally speaking, choosing a personal representative in Maryland is best. While Maryland does not require residents’ personal representatives to be residents themselves, it can make the probate process simpler. Not all Maryland residents live close to their family or loved ones. If your personal representative lives out of state, they must have a Maryland resident act as their agent. In that same vein, if your personal representative once lived in Maryland but has since moved to another state, they must designate an in-state agent in order to stay your personal representative. Although your personal representative does not have to be a Maryland resident, the fact that they live in Maryland can allow for the probate process to be settled quicker.

Someone Who is Capable

In addition to trustworthiness, capability is also important when designating a personal representative of your will in Maryland. Reflect on the age and background of each person you are considering for this important role. While you might trust your parent more than anyone else, their age or health might make them an unideal candidate to be a personal representative. Furthermore, suppose there is someone close to you who is somewhat experienced in handling legal matters similar to what is required to manage an estate. In that case, they might be the ideal person to be your personal representative. Someone who has experienced financial issues in the past or has vested interest in the distribution of your assets upon your death might not be the best choice to be your personal representative, depending on your relationship with them. In order to be a personal representative, an individual must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. Non-American citizens cannot be personal representatives, unless they are a testator’s spouse, parent, sibling, or child. Furthermore, individuals with felony convictions cannot be personal representatives in Maryland. Before you name someone as your personal representative, speak with them about the responsibilities such a role entails and confirm that they feel comfortable taking on this duty.

How to Select a Personal Representative for a Will in Maryland

Once you have identified who among your loved ones will be your personal representative following your death, you must officially appoint them in your last will and testament.

Our attorneys will include the name of the person you wish to act as the personal representative of your estate after your death in your will. Upon a testator’s death, a probate judge will refer to their will to confirm the identity of their personal representative. If a decedent does not have a will or fails to name a personal representative in their will, a judge will do so. Generally, this role is given to a decedent’s children or spouse. If a decedent does not have children and is unmarried, the role will fall to their parents, then their siblings.

Throughout your life, relationships might change, causing you to want to change your personal representative. To do this, you must execute a codicil. Simply marking up your last will and testament will not suffice. Our lawyers can help you execute a codicil, amending the identity of your personal representative, so that your wishes are honored after your death.

Call Our Lawyers to Plan Your Will in Maryland

Call (410) 694-7291 to set up a free case assessment with the Columbia, MD wills and estate planning lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras.