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Choosing a personal representative

On Behalf of | May 4, 2018 | Estate Planning

As you begin the process of estate planning in St. Charles, one of the most important decisions that you must make will be who to choose as your personal representative. This is a choice that should certainly not be taken lightly, as this person will be responsible for carrying out your wishes as they’re stipulated in your will. Furthermore, whomever you choose will be the one who ensures that your beneficiaries can receive all the you have designated for them. Many come to members of our team here at Stephen A. Martin Attorney at Law for guidance when making this decision. We often start by telling them the basic qualifications to be a personal representative. 

Those qualifications can be found in Section 473.117 of Missouri’s state statutes. They state that your personal representative must meet the following criteria: 

  • He or she must be above the age of majority (18)
  • He or she cannot be proven to be a habitual drunkard
  • He or she cannot be under a legal disability due to a conviction of a crime

Any officer of the court (e.g., judge, deputy or division clerk) also cannot serve as your personal representative unless he or she is your spouse or related to you within the third degree of cosanguinity. 

That pretty much leaves all of your responsible adult relatives or acquaintances from which to choose from. Keep in mind that your personal representative should also have a firm understanding of legal and/or financial matters. If you do not have any immediate relatives or friends with these skills, you may want to consider entrusting the role of personal representative to an attorney or accountant. 

You can learn more about choosing your personal representative by continuing to browse through our site.