What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Personal Representative in Florida?
When creating a Will, many testators name their spouse or child to serve as the Personal Representative (called an “Executor” in many other states) of their estate. However, choosing someone to be the Personal Representative of your estate is not necessarily an “honor”; it is a job! You must ensure that the selected person has the necessary skills and qualities to do what is required of them because they will have many responsibilities.
Legal Requirements to Choose a Personal Representative of Your Estate in Florida
When choosing a Personal Representative, it is important to ensure that the person meets the legal requirements under the state law. In Florida, a person qualifies to be an executor of an estate if they are:
- 18 years old or older
- Physically and mentally capable of performing their duties
- Not a convicted felon
- A resident of Florida; However, you may name a non-resident to serve as Personal Representative if the person is related to you by marriage, blood, or adoption.
The Duties and Responsibilities of a Personal Representative
A Personal Representative is entrusted to handle the legal and financial matters in order to open and close the deceased’s estate. a Personal Representative has the following duties and responsibilities:
- Notify all interested parties, including beneficiaries and potentially heirs at law
- Identify and notify ascertainable creditors
- Publish a notice to creditors in a legal publication
- Identify all assets of the estate
- Determine the value of assets, conduct appraisals if necessary
- File an inventory with the court
- File estate tax returns, if necessary
- Make payments on creditor claims
- File income tax returns on behalf of the decedent
- Sell assets to pay creditors and fulfill bequests
- Distribute assets to beneficiaries as directed by the Will
- Close out the estate
It is quickly evident that all the duties and responsibilities of a Personal Representative will require the help of trust professionals.
Why Do You Need a Probate Lawyer?
Under Florida law, a probate lawyer is necessary in order to appoint and represent a Personal Representative of an Estate. The lawyer will help the Personal Representative navigate the process to ensure that all legal and procedural requirements are met. Some of the duties of a St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer include:
- Informing the Personal Representative of all legal requirements and deadlines
- Ensuring that all reports to the court are filed properly and timely
- Determining which tax returns are necessary
- Helping determine the value of assets or suggesting experts to help with valuations
- Identifying which creditor claims must be paid
- Making court appearances when necessary
- Ensuring that all assets are distributed properly and according to the testator’s wishes
- Ensuring that the state is closed out
- Providing legal and guidance as issues arise
It is important that your nominated Personal Representative can handle the duties, but that you have a trust attorney to assist and work with you Personal Representative. Consult with our St. Petersburg estate planning lawyers at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, to discuss your case. Call at 727-471-5868 today.