If you find yourself in an estate proceeding, you will hear the term “executor.” In Florida, this role is called the “personal representative,” and the duties are the same. The personal representative is appointed to oversee the administration or probate of the deceased person’s estate. This means that the personal representative plays quite a critical role in ensuring the decedent’s affairs are wrapped up effectively, and their will is honored. The role of a personal representative in Florida can be challenging to understand or navigate. This is why The Millman Law Group is essential for guiding you through your duties as a personal representative and ensuring a successful estate administration.
Who Can Serve as a Personal Representative in Florida?
Florida law has four requirements for eligible personal representatives:
- The person must be at least 18 years old
- They must be a resident of Florida or related to the deceased by blood, marriage, or adoption
- They must have never been convicted of a felony
- They must be physically and mentally capable of serving in this role
If your personal representative of choice fits these qualifications, they can serve in this role. However, a bank or trust company incorporated in Florida and authorized to exercise fiduciary powers can also act as a personal representative.
How is The Role Appointed?
The court appoints a personal representative, but this can mean different things depending on the precise situation. For instance:
- If a decedent died with a will, the court would appoint the representative named in the will, provided, of course, that the person is legally qualified to serve in the role.
- If the decedent died without a will, the court takes on a larger role in assigning this role. The surviving spouse has the first right to serve as a representative. However, if there is no spouse or they decline the role, the heirs who represent the majority interest can choose who serves as a personal representative. Finally, if the heirs cannot agree, the judge will appoint a personal representative.
The situation is naturally more complicated when someone dies without a will. If you don’t yet have a will or are concerned that your loved one does not have one, meet with The Millman Law Group to start drafting a will today.
What Does a Personal Representative Do?
You have a lot of responsibility when serving as a personal representative in Florida. This person has a fiduciary duty to administer the estate according to the terms of the decedent’s will while complying with Florida law. The role of a personal representative requires:
- Notifying heirs and other interested parties that the will is being submitted to probate
- Paying creditors claims
- Identifying and taxing control of estate assets
- Filing tax returns and paying taxes for the decedent
- Selling assets to satisfy claims against the estate
- Distributing assets to the heirs
- Managing assets such as investments or real estate while the will is being administered
- Filing necessary documents and paperwork with the court
- Preparing and submitting a final account to the court
This role can be quite demanding and time-consuming. Because of the many duties of a personal representative, we recommend working with an experienced estate planning attorney. At The Millman Law Group, we can help you navigate this process with ease and success.
Estate Planning Made Easy With Millman Law Group
Millman Law Group, PLLC is rare because it’s one of the only law firms that offer life planning in South Florida. From life care planning to the preparation of detailed estate plans, Millman Law Group has committed to serving Floridian elderly communities in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Ocean Ridge, Hillsboro Beach, and many other areas since 2018. Our dedicated team also specializes in special needs trusts and catering to any age demographic because we know for certain it’s never too early to start preparing you and your family for your future. For the latest news in estate planning and elder care law, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest. You can also contact us at 561-463-6480.