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What to Do When You Have Been Named the Personal Representative of an Estate


Being a personal representative of an estate, also known as an executor, can be a stressful job.  “Personal Representative” is the term used in Florida law, but if you know someone in another state who was appointed to act as the executor of a relative’s will, that person has been in the same situation. The personal representative of the estate is responsible for the legal process that leads to the beneficiaries named in the deceased person’s will receiving the assets the deceased person  bequeathed to them. The best way to avoid mistakes and to reduce the stress associated with being the personal representative of an estate is to hire an estate and trust lawyer to guide you through the process.

The Challenges of Being a Personal Representative of an Estate

Acting as a personal representative of an estate would be an easy job for someone whose full-time job is dealing with estates and who gets to go home from work every day and not think about the financial affairs of recently deceased people again until the next workday. When you have never tried to deal with an estate, one of the hardest times to learn to do it is when you have just lost a close family member. Likewise, preparing income tax returns isn’t difficult for accountants, but the tasks of a personal representative seem daunting for the uninitiated, especially when they are connected to the troubling times of one’s personal life when a loved one passes away.

How to Make Your Life as the Personal Representative of an Estate Easier

The best way to keep the probate process from dragging on too long or running into problems, as well as the best way to avoid mistakes, is to hire an estate lawyer as soon as you become aware that you are nominated the personal representative of an estate. It is easy to let tasks like this get away from you when you are dealing with all the disorder of adjusting to a relative’s passing. The sooner you retain a lawyer, the sooner the process can begin to run smoothly.

It is important to choose a lawyer who deals with probate on a regular basis.  Lawyers who work in other practice areas might be willing to take on your estate and probate case, but that does not necessarily mean that they will do a good job.  The best choice is to work with a law firm that specializes handling with estate and probate cases.

Contact a Dedicated Attorney for Help

Mark Manceri has been practicing estate and probate law in South Florida for more than 30 years. He has been an active member of the Florida Bar, including lecturing for the Florida Bar and other legal education forums. Contact Mark R. Manceri to discuss your questions related to your duties as the personal representative of an estate.

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