Who can and cannot be the personal representative?

Who can be the personal representative?

The personal representative does not have to be a legal or financial expert. But, s/he must have reasonable prudence and judgment and be very careful, honest, loyal, impartial and diligent. This is called a “fiduciary duty” — the duty to act with good faith and honesty on behalf of someone else.

The personal representative should have good organizational skills and be able to keep track of details. It is preferable if he or she lives nearby and is familiar with the decedent’s finances. This makes it easier to do tasks and find important records.

Who is not allowed to be the personal representative?

The following people cannot be the personal representative:

  • a minor,
  • a person subject to a conservatorship or otherwise incapable of performing the duties of personal representative,
  • a surviving business partner of the decedent, if an interested person objects (unless the Will names the partner as executor), or
  • a non-resident of the U.S. (unless the Will names the non-resident as executor).


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