What is a Personal Representative?
The personal representative is the person, bank or trust company appointed by the judge to be in charge of the administration of the decedent’s probate estate. In Florida, the term “personal representative” is used instead of such terms as “executor, executrix, administrator and administratrix.”
What are my duties as Personal Representative?
The personal representative has a legal duty to administer the probate estate pursuant to Florida law. The complete list of personal representative’s duties can be found in Chapter 733 of the Florida Statutes. The personal representative must:
- Identify, gather, value and safeguard the decedent’s probate assets.
- Publish a “Notice to Creditors” in a local newspaper in order to give notice to potential claimants to file claims in the manner required by law.
- Serve a “Notice of Administration” to provide information about the probate estate administration and notice of the procedures required to be followed by those having any objection to the administration of the decedent’s probate estate.
- Conduct a diligent search to locate “known or reasonably ascertainable” creditors, and notify these creditors of the time by which their claims must be filed.
- Object to improper claims, and defend suits brought on such claims.
- Pay valid claims.
- File tax returns and pay any taxes properly due.
- Employ professionals to assist in the administration of the probate estate; for example, attorneys, certified public accountants, appraisers and investment advisers.
- Pay expenses of administering the probate estate.
- Pay statutory amounts to the decedent’s surviving spouse or family.
- Distribute probate assets to beneficiaries.
- Close the probate estate.
If the personal representative mismanages the decedent’s probate estate, the personal representative may be liable to the beneficiaries for any harm they may suffer.
Do I have to do this alone and how do I get started?
Luckily, our firm can help you with almost every detail in your role as personal representative. Your most important tasks in the administration are as follows:
- Providing us with accurate information about your deceased loved one;
- Gather accurate information on all estate assets;
- Gather accurate information on all estate creditors;
- Safeguard and protect your loved one’s property;
- File and pay any taxes due.
We can help you notice creditors, deal with beneficiaries, and locate other professionals, like accountants, to help you with estate related issues.