Floridians who are preparing for the future by having an estate plan should know that it goes beyond simply writing a will. There are other key aspects of the process that must not be ignored. A personal representative plays a critical role in probate. Understanding the law for these matters may require experienced assistance.
Important aspects of a personal representative and their responsibilities
In many states, the personal representative is referred to as the executor. The individual who performs the duties can be named by the person who created the will – the testator – or they can be appointed.
When a person has written a will, they can select the personal representative. Powers to name a personal representative can also be granted in the will. Alternatively, it can be a person who was selected by the majority in interest of the estate. Those who are set to receive property as part of the will can apply to be the personal representative.
Those who do not have a will should know that the role will be filled by the spouse left behind; someone who is in majority interest of those set to inherit property; or the nearest heir. The court will decide who has the best credentials.
Under the law, there are people who will be deemed not qualified to be the personal representative. Being convicted of a felony will be a disqualifier. Having been convicted in Florida, anywhere in the U.S. or in a foreign land of abusing, neglecting or exploiting an elderly or disabled adult automatically means that person cannot serve in the role. People must be mentally and physically capable of doing the duties. They cannot be under 18.
The personal representative must be a Florida resident unless they have been legally adopted or are an adopted parent of the person who died; they have a blood relationship with the person who died; they are a spouse, brother, sister or other relative to the decedent; or they are a spouse who would otherwise be qualified.
Part of estate planning is preparing for probate
Those who create an estate plan do so with the intention of ensuring their property goes where they want it to go. This is true for real estate, bank accounts, automobiles, collectibles, heirlooms and business interests.
To achieve that, it is vital to be aware of the laws. A personal representative plays a fundamental part in probate and other matters and selecting the right person is imperative. For these and other areas of estate planning that might be confusing or worrisome, having one-on-one advice can craft a plan that suits the person’s needs.