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Your Lawyers For Life

What are the duties of a personal representative?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2022 | Estate Planning

When a person dies in Florida, their estate will generally go through probate. Probate is a legal process that settles the deceased’s estate either through the terms of the deceased’s will or state law if there is no will. The probate process is completed by a personal representative.

What is the role of a personal representative?

A personal representative is a person who is appointed to administer the deceased’s estate. The personal representative has the following duties.

First, they must identify, gather and value all the probate assets. This can include bank accounts, real estate and personal property.

Second, they must notify creditors about the death, usually in the local newspaper. A personal representative must search out “known or reasonably ascertainable” creditors to let them know of the death and how long they have to file a claim.

Third, a personal representative must object to improper claims and pay valid claims. They also must pay any taxes due and other expenses related to estate administration.

Finally, a personal representative must distribute the remaining estate assets to the deceased’s heirs and close the probate estate.

When there is no will

If the deceased left a will, the will names who is to serve as personal representative. If there is no will, the deceased’s surviving spouse has the first right to be the personal representative of the deceased’s estate.

If the surviving spouse declines this opportunity or if there is no surviving spouse, the heir with a majority interest in the estate has the second right to be the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. If the deceased’s heirs disagree about who should be the personal representative, the decision will be left to the judge following a hearing on the matter.

It is good to have a will

It is important to execute a will, especially if you have an opinion on who should administer your estate. If not, state law will make this decision, which may or may not be to your liking. If you want to execute an estate plan, it is important to understand the role of a personal representative. This way you can make decisions you are comfortable and happy with.