When to change your personal representative

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2023 | Estate Planning

Your personal representative is tasked with ensuring that your final wishes are carried out as instructed. Obviously, this is an important role, so it’s important to choose the right person for the job.  

It’s possible that circumstances change in the life of your personal representative or yours, and, in turn, you may need to choose another party.

Here are five examples of such circumstances:

No longer willing to assume their duties

Your personal representative may no longer want the role due to different reasons. If this happens, you should respect their wish and name another party. Willingness is a crucial quality of a personal representative.


If you had named your spouse as your estate’s personal representative and have since gotten a divorce, you may need to choose another party. An ex-spouse may not be the ideal person for such a crucial role. But if your divorce was uncontested, and you trust your ex-spouse to act according to your wishes, you may not need to make a change.

Falling out 

You should trust that your chosen personal representative has your best interest at heart. Therefore, if you have a fall out with your named party, you should consider choosing another person.

You found a better-equipped person

This may not be a primary reason to change your personal representative, as you can provide your chosen party with resources to gain the needed knowledge. For example, you can connect them with your attorney, financial advisor and tax expert.

But if your personal representative has problems with the complexity of your estate even after providing them with the help they need, you can pick a better-equipped person if you have found one.

Incapacitation or death

If your personal representative becomes incapacitated or dies, you will choose another person.

Changing a personal representative may be necessary in the above-discussed situations. You should get legal help to validate the change.