Understanding the Responsibilities of an Executor in a Florida Probate
When someone is named as the executor of a person’s will, they will be tasked with a lot of responsibility. There are fiduciary duties and legal responsibilities that must be carried out, otherwise the probate may drag on unnecessarily. The appointment of a particular executor can also lead to disputes, where heirs might raise objections and challenge the appointment in certain instances.
In Florida, an executor is known as a personal representative. This is the person you name in your will who will be responsible for probate administration upon your death. This is not an appointment you should consider lightly, as it could create a number of problems for your loved ones. When disputes arise during probate, it’s necessary to retain a Pompano Beach estate & trust litigation attorney who can assist.
Here’s a look at some of the tasks personal representatives are responsible for in Florida.
Executor’s Duties in a Florida Probate
To start, the personal representative will need to give notice to any interested parties, serve notice to any known creditors, and publish a legal notice to cover potential unknown creditors. Once the probate administration has been opened, the personal representative will gather an inventory of all of the estate’s assets. This inventory will include everything, including bank accounts, real estate holdings, investments, and any other assets.
The personal representative will need to conduct the inventory by preparing a detailed list and including the value of each asset at the time of the testator’s death. This is to help compile the estate’s net worth to know what the potential tax liability is, to help pay any outstanding debts, and then to distribute the remainder of the estate to the named heirs. In the event there are additional assets uncovered, the executor will need to amend the inventory or provide a supplement to the court.
He or she will also need to file any estate tax returns as required, pay necessary creditors, and manage investments. Perhaps some assets need to be liquidated in order to cover a creditor’s claim or the tax bill owed. If there is real estate, how will property care be handled. Once all of the estate’s liabilities are handled, the personal representative must distribute the remaining assets according to the decedent’s wishes and report to the court. When a final accounting is complete and the court gives the approval, probate can be closed.
Working with an experienced Florida probate attorney is highly recommended so that the personal representative doesn’t have to take on all these tasks alone. The attorney can draft any legal documents and give advice on which tax forms need to be used, whether experts need to be retained, and more. The attorney can also make required court appearances and file the representative’s reports.
Qualifications for a Personal Representative in Florida
Not everyone can be a personal representative in Florida. The individual must be at least 18 years old, be mentally and physically capable, not have any prior felony convictions, and they should be a resident in the state. The requirement on residency may be waived if the executor is a blood relative, a relative by marriage, or is related by adoption.
Contact a Florida Probate Litigation Attorney
If you have a possible dispute or need to challenge the appointment of a personal representative in a Florida probate, contact Pompano Beach estate & trust litigation attorney Mark R. Manceri, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation.