When someone passes away in Florida or while owning assets in Florida, then the estate of the decedent will go through the Florida probate process. Part of this process includes appointing of a Florida personal representative to oversee the affairs of the estate. A personal representative can be an individual, a bank, or a trust company, subject to certain restrictions. Usually, the personal representative (PR) is appointed in the deceased’s last will & testament.
What if the person died without a will or the person named in the will is not legally qualified to serve as a personal representative? The Court will appoint one – Ideally the decedent’s spouse. What if the deceased does not have a spouse or the spouse is unable or unwilling to act as the PR? The Court will appoint a person close to the decedent.
What does a PR do?
The PR holds a fiduciary duty to the estate and the heirs of the estate. This means they are liable to the beneficiaries for any harm suffered as a result of the improperly executed probate process. The PR ensures all estate and individual taxes of the deceased are filed and paid before the probate matter closes and the assets are distributed to the heirs. Furthermore, it is also the PR’s job to conduct the FL ancillary probate process according to the law.
People who cannot serve as the personal representative of an estate include:
– Convicted felons
– A non-resident of Florida not related to the deceased
Bonus Tip: You should tell the person you choose as your personal representative of their responsibilities. Lastly, you should also tell one or two other close friends or family members.
A personal representative is legally required to hire an attorney to represent them through the probate process. If you are the personal representative in a will or have an Estate Planning matter, contact us today.