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Are Personal Representatives Required To Account To Beneficiaries?


Personal Representatives are responsible for finalizing the estate of a deceased person, which includes ensuring that the decedent’s debts and taxes are paid in full, as well as distributing assets according to the will or trust document. A Personal Representative must also provide an accurate accounting to any beneficiaries of the estate. But when is a Personal Representative required to  account to beneficiaries?

If you were appointed to serve as a Personal Represenative of someone’s estate, the lawyer at Mark R. Manceri, P.A., can explain your obligations with respect to accounting. Our Pompano Beach breach of fiduciary duties lawyer also assists beneficiaries who believe an executor breached their duties and want to take legal action.

Personal Representative Obligations with Respect to Accounting

It is essential for a Personal Representative carrying out their responsibilities to understand what rights and obligations they have with respect to providing financial information during the administration process.

The Personal Representative has a fiduciary duty to provide accurate information about the estate’s finances to any interested parties. This includes both creditors and beneficiaries who have a right to know how their inheritance has been managed. Unless waived, Florida law requires that the Personal Representative submit an itemized accounting of all income and expenses related to the estate during the administration process.

In Florida, Personal Representatives are required to file final accounting along with a petition for discharge within a year from the date of issuing the letters of administration (Florida Probate Rule 5.400). In some cases, the time period can be extended by the Court.

Distributing Estate Assets

It is vital that all estate assets be distributed according to either applicable state law or instructions provided in a valid will or trust document before closing out one’s duties as Personal Representative. If there are enough remaining funds after paying off debt and taxes (and any other necessary expenses), then these should be divided among beneficiaries according to instructions provided in a valid will or trust document. If no such instructions exist, then assets should be distributed based on applicable state law regarding intestate succession—that is, how property passes when someone dies without a will or trust document in place.

Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. for Legal Help

Ultimately, it is important for an executor to carry out their responsibilities with care and accuracy so that no legal issues arise down the road that could put them at risk of facing financial liability or criminal charges due to mismanagement of funds belonging to beneficiaries. If you are a Personal Representative accused of a breach of fiduciary duty or a beneficiary who wants to sue a Personal Representative for failure to file proper accounting, contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A., to get legal help. Reach out to our office in Pompano Beach today to schedule a consultation. Call 954-491-7099.

Personal Representatives & Beneficiaries Rights Under the Law

Under Florida law, the Personal Representative has a duty to carry out the terms of the decedent’s will (Florida Statutes § 733.602). In other words, it is their job to ensure that all assets are distributed according to what was outlined in the will.

If a beneficiary feels that their rights have been violated, they may file a suit against the Personal Representative in order to challenge the Personal Representative’s actions legally.

Other Considerations

An important thing to keep in mind is that beneficiaries do not have any control over how assets are distributed or how they are managed while they are still part of an estate. If a beneficiary disagrees with a Personal Representative’s decision, they may be able to challenge it in court if it does not comply with state law.

Discuss Your Case with a Lawyer

Thus, whether or not a personal representative can lawfully override a beneficiary depends on many factors. That is why you may want to discuss your particular case with an experienced attorney to avoid legal issues down the line. The skilled lawyer at Mark R. Manceri, P.A., can explain the applicable laws and procedures that must be followed when administering the estate. Call 954-491-7099 to get a consultation.



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