If you are appointed as a personal representative in a will in Florida, it is important to understand what this means for you. Keep reading to learn more about your fiduciary duties and responsibilities.
A personal representative in Florida
A personal representative is someone named by a testator in their will to carry out their wishes. If the deceased died intestate, the court would appoint this person. If the deceased named you in their will, you’d be called an executor or executrix. If selected by the court, you’ll go by the title estate administrator.
What are the responsibilities of a personal representative?
The responsibilities are numerous and include:
- Opening the estate: The first thing you will need to do as a personal representative is open the estate by going to the probate court in the county where the deceased lived and filing a petition. The court will then appoint you as the personal representative and give you Letters of Administration or Testamentary, depending on whether or not the deceased had a will.
- Notifying the beneficiaries: Once officially appointed as the personal representative, you will need to notify all of the beneficiaries named in the will by sending them a certified letter with a return receipt requested. In your letter, you should include your contact information and let them know that they are named in the will. You should also provide them with a copy of the will.
- Managing the assets: Your next duty will be to manage the estate’s assets. This includes inventorying all of the assets, paying any debts and taxes owed, distributing the assets to the beneficiaries, and dealing with any issues that might come up in probate litigation.
- Closing the estate: After all debts, expenses, and inheritance is sorted, you will close the estate. You will do this by final accounting with the court and publishing a notice in a local newspaper.
Being named as a personal representative is a big responsibility. If you do not feel up to the task, you can always decline the position. However, if you accept it, you will need to take care of everything in a professional and timely manner.