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What Role Do Personal Representatives Play in a Florida Probate?


When you set up an estate plan, you will be asked to designate a number of potential positions, including a personal representative, or executor, of the will. You may also hear of a personal representative or executor referred to as an administrator. The terms may be somewhat interchangeable between states, but the individual duties are relatively identical. Your St. Petersburg estate planning attorney can explain the duties of a personal representative as it relates to your personal estate and help you decide on the right person to name.

Sometimes your top choice may not want to or cannot serve as your representative due to personal conflicts and time restraints at the time of your death. In order to avoid the court deciding who then should be appointed, you can always nominate in your will additional individuals who can serve as a back-up. A lot of time goes into being a personal representative, which is why it’s important to discuss this with your first choice to confirm that they are willing to take on the responsibility. 

Duties of a Personal Representative

In most probate matters, your personal representative will be in charge of the following duties:

  • They will need to locate and secure all of your assets for probate. Some assets, like life insurance policies that have named beneficiaries, may pass directly to the named individuals, so they wouldn’t be included in a probate.
  • They will determine the value of your assets to probate. They may need to order appraisals to obtain accurate values of assets like a business or real estate.
  • In addition, they will need to obtain date of death values for assets that are not going through probate as well if there is a chance that the estate will need to pay estate taxes.
  • Obtain creditors’ names, notify them of your death and pay off debts. You may need to run newspaper notices in order to alert all individuals and companies. They have the right to make a claim for the monies they are owed. The personal representative will need to send letters to all creditors he or she can locate.
  • They will need to prepare and file a tax return for the estate. This can include filing the decedent’s final individual income tax return as well.
  • The personal representative also pays any ongoing expenses related to administering the estate, which can include taxes, debts, and operating expenses. All of these have to be paid prior to probate closing. If need be, the representative will have to liquidate or sell assets in order to raise the necessary cash.
  • Distribute the balance of the estate to all beneficiaries. Before this happens, he or she will file a final accounting with the court that lists all of the estate’s probate assets and values, accounting of debts, expenses paid, and taxes paid.

Contact a Florida Estate Planning and Probate Attorney Today

If you need assistance with setting up an estate plan, or you are a named personal representative who needs to open a probate administration, don’t do it on your own. Contact Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP today to schedule an initial consultation.


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