Many years ago when you and your spouse were younger, your estate was smaller and your children were still young, someone probably encouraged you to make a will. So you visited a lawyer. During the course of that meeting the lawyer asked, who do you wish to nominate as your personal representative? After several awkward glances and a bit of discussion, you and your spouse likely named each other. Then the attorney suggested you might also want to select an alternate. So after a little more discussion you named your brother or sister or a cousin.

Now after years of hard work, you and your spouse have retired, your estate has multiplied many times over and your kids have grown, married and had children of their own. The question now is: Who is the personal representative named in your will? After all, as you've grown older so have your family and friends. Is your spouse unable to serve due to illness or frailty? Maybe your brother has already passed away and you haven't talked with your cousin in years.

Consider these facts before you amend your will. When you name a corporate fiduciary as your personal representative you can rest assured the organization named will always be there.

Corporate fiduciaries such as Family Heritage Trust don't pass away or become incompetent or move to another part of the country. A corporate fiduciary has specialized experience and training in settling estates and will always treat your family and other beneficiaries with impartiality and respect.

Consider the following duties a personal representative must perform:

1) Collect and safeguard estate assets
2) Inventory all assets and obtain valuations
3) Pay valid debts and collect money owed to the decedent
4) File all final federal and state tax returns
5) Pay all personal, estate and inheritance taxes due
6) Maintain detailed accounting records
7) Prepare a complete accounting and file it with the court
8) Carry out all terms of the will in an unbiased manner

An experienced corporate fiduciary may also save your estate money. When inexperienced family members or friends serve as a personal representative they may make mistakes which may be costly to your estate. Thus your family receives less.