A personal representative, also called an executor, is the person chosen to administer a deceased person’s estate. In doing so, a personal representative is held to the highest standard of care and must act in the best interests of the estate’s beneficiaries. Thus, the personal representative plays a key role in the Florida probate process. Florida personal representatives have many duties. In this article, we examine three key duties of a Florida personal representative.
Key Duty #1: Locate and Gather Assets
One of the most important things that a personal representative does is locate and gather the decedent’s assets. This includes tangible assets, such as property and money, and intangible assets, such as digital assets and copyrights. An estate’s personal representative must also take possession of the decedent’s real property and file and serve notice if such property is homestead property. However, the process of locating and gathering assets is complicated, and the actual duties in this area are varied and specific. Thus, every personal representative should enlist the services of an experienced probate attorney for assistance in this area.
Key Duty #2: Provide Notification to Beneficiaries and Creditors
Once a personal representative has been appointed by the court, he or she must provide notice of the estate’s administration to all those who may have an interest in the estate. This is accomplished by serving a notice to creditors and a notice of administration. The personal representative must serve a notice to all creditors of an estate that can be located after a reasonable search, and the representative must serve a notice of administration on all parties that otherwise have an interest in the estate.
Key Duty #3: Close the Estate
Finally, following the administration of the estate, the distribution of the decedent’s property in accordance with his or her will or the laws of intestacy, and the payment of all taxes and debts, the personal representative must close the estate by drafting and submitting a final accounting to the probate court. In addition, the personal representative must file a petition requesting to be relieved from his or her duties.
The Bottom Line
Personal representatives in Florida have several important responsibilities. Fortunately, personal representatives in Florida are not expected to handle these tasks alone. Rather, Florida law requires every personal representative to hire an attorney to assist with the estate administration process.
Contact a Florida Probate Attorney
If you need assistance navigating the Florida probate process, the Law Office of Angela Siegel is on your side. When you come to us for help with your Florida probate issue, founding attorney Angela Siegel will handle all aspects of probating the decedent’s will. In addition, if the decedent died without a will, Ms. Siegel will apply to the court for Letter of Administration. Please contact us to arrange a consultation with our talented probate attorney.