People in Florida keep living their lives up until they pass away. This means that they will continue to make purchases, own and use property, use bank accounts, have retirement and investment accounts and other types of assets. It also means that they may continue to use credit cards, have mortgages and have other loans as well. When people pass away all of their assets and debts will need to be addressed through probate.
The personal representatives of estates are the people responsible for addressing the assets and debts in probate. Their main responsibilities include distributing assets to the proper beneficiaries of the estate and paying the estate’s debts.
Personal representatives’ obligations to creditors
People’s debts do not cease when they pass away. The personal representative will need to pay the various creditors from the assets of the estate. Early in the probate proceedings, the personal representative has an obligation to notify all known creditors as well as the creditors who the personal representative is able to determine through reasonable diligence. After receiving the notice of the passing, creditors have three months to file any claims they have against the estate.
These claims can be challenged, but once it is determined that it is a valid claim, the personal representative must pay the creditor the amount owed. Legitimate creditors need to receive their payments before the personal representative distributes any assets subject to probate to the beneficiaries. This is true for any federal or state taxes the estate owes as well.
Personal representatives in Florida have many responsibilities as they administer the estate. They may think their responsibility is to distribute the assets to beneficiaries, but in fact, one their first responsibilities is to identify and pay creditors of the estate. This can be a complicated process as it may not be easy to determine every creditor of the estate. Experienced attorneys understand the responsibilities of personal representatives during the probate process and may be able to guide one through it.