When a person in Fort Lauderdale passes away, their estate generally must be probated. Probate is the legal process through which their assets are located, debts and taxes are paid out of the estate and the remainder distributed to the decedent’s heirs. Overseeing this whole process is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
What is a personal representative?
The role of the personal representative is to execute the administration of the decedent’s estate. Other terms for personal representative include “executor” and “administrator.” However, Florida law refers to this person as the “personal representative.” A personal representative can be a person, or a bank or trust company although there are some restrictions. The person must reside in Florida or be a spouse, sibling, parent or child of the decedent. A personal representative can be named in a valid will or appointed by the court. They are bound to follow Florida probate law.
What does the personal representative do?
The personal representative has numerous duties. They must locate, obtain and value the assets of the estate. They must publish in a local newspaper a “Notice to Creditors.” They must serve a “Notice of Administration” for those who may object to the administration of the estate. They must search for known or reasonably ascertainable creditors and give these entities the deadline for filing claims. They must object to improper claims and defend against any lawsuits. They must pay valid claims and taxes. Finally, they must distribute assets to the heirs of the estate and close the estate. It is important to note that a personal representative is personally liable should they mismanage the estate.
Learn more about probate in Florida
Probate laws in Florida can be confusing to those who are unfamiliar with them, especially if disputes arise. For this reason, many personal representatives seek help in executing their duties. With the right assistance they can ensure they are fulfilling their legal duties towards the decedent’s estate.