Personal Representative and Agent Resources
If you have been appointed the personal representative or agent under a Financial Power of Attorney or Advance Medical Directive OR if you have been appointed as a Trustee or Executor of an estate, we have written these instructions to help you. Being a loved one’s personal representative can be challenging, but it’s an extremely important responsibility. Our hope is that these resources will aid you and give you direction as you seek to care for your loved one and their estate.
Below, you’ll find further links and some essential tips to get you started:
Basic Dos for Any Type of Personal Representative:
- Do refer to financial, medical, or general estate instructions your loved one has previously laid out. Some of these instructions are legally binding, meaning not following them can be a crime.
- Do honor your loved one’s non-binding wishes as much as possible.
- Do make decisions based upon what your loved one has stated. If an issue arises that they have not addressed, make decisions in accordance with what you think they would do or want if they were able to choose for themselves.
- Do keep record of any action you take as a personal representative, in case you are called upon to prove that you have acted in a legal manner and in your loved one’s best interest.
- Do keep original documents in your safekeeping in the event that you are in a situation where a copy is not acceptable.
Basic Don’ts for Any Type of Personal Representative:
- Do not take any action that is contrary to the instructions set out in your loved one’s Will, Trust, Financial Power of Attorney, or Advance Medical Directive, as this puts you at risk for being criminally charged.
- Do not spend your loved one’s money for any reason outside the instructions set forth in their legal documents.
- Do not spend your loved one’s money, even in a permissible way, without keeping record of those actions, as you may be called upon in court to give account for what you did with their finances.
- Do not give away original documents for any reason, as you may have to show proof of originals in different situations that can arise.