One of the most difficult choices that has to be made when you make your last will and testament is who will be the personal representative or executor. The personal representative is the person that is in charge of your estate when you die. This person that you choose will make have to make all all the important decisions about your estate. A decision that is just as important as naming an executor and is most often overlooked is who will be the back up or alternative in case that person you choose as executor is unable or unwilling to perform the duties and responsibilities of the job.
Figuring out who to name in your will as a primary personal representative, the person in charge of settling your estate, can be a tough enough choice. This person must have the card to come by trait of responsibility. This person must be someone you would trust with all of your assets. Most importantly this person must also must be willing to do a lot of hard and thankless work with little reward. Finding a second person that you trust as much as the primary personal representative to handle the role of alternative or backup personal representative may prove to be a difficult endeavor. The choice for a primary personal representative is usually a spouse or child. If there are one or more children over age eighteen, then the choice may be easier as you name the other child as the alternative. If there is a responsible sibling then that personal may be a good choice as an alternative personal executor. It is not a good idea to name someone as an alternative if they are irresponsible or too busy to handle the work. A lazy or irresponsible executor could cost the estate and potential heirs thousands of dollars in legal fees and delays in months or years in carrying out the estate. You are better off not naming an alternative if you cannot think of a responsible person. It is not mandatory that you name an alternative personal representative. The probate court will find a responsible party at greater cost to the estate and may require bond, or money up front, be posted to prevent mismanagement of the estate, but the person named by the court will carry out their duties in a responsible fashion. Banks or other financial institutions are also available to carry out duties and the fees associated with their service can be negotiated ahead of time. banks will have no emotion or attachment to their decisions being made and could also be a good choice if no one else can be thought of to handle the duties of the office.