In the state of Florida, the term “personal representative” is used instead of such terms as “executor” or “administrator” of the will.
The personal representative is the person or company appointed by the judge to be in charge of the administration of the decedent’s probate estate. A Personal Representative can hire a law firm to assist in the administration of the probate estate processes and proceedings.
Important: The personal representative has a legal responsibility to administer the probate estate pursuant to Florida law. The personal representative must:
- Identify, gather, value, and safeguard the decedent’s probate assets.
- Serve a “Notice of Administration” to provide information about the probate estate administration and notice of the procedures required to be followed by those having any objection to the administration of the decedent’s probate estate.
- Publish a “Notice to Creditors” in a local newspaper in order to give notice to potential claimants to file claims in the manner required by law.
- File tax returns and pay any taxes properly due.
- Conduct a diligent search to locate “known or reasonably ascertainable” creditors, and notify these creditors of the time by which their claims must be filed.
- Object to improper claims, and defend suits brought on such claims.
- Pay valid claims.
- Pay statutory amounts to the decedent’s surviving spouse or family.
- Distribute probate assets to beneficiaries.
- Employ professionals to assist in the administration of the probate estate; for example, attorneys, certified public accountants, appraisers and investment advisors.
- Pay expenses of administering the probate estate.
- Close the probate estate.
Be aware: If the personal representative mismanages the decedent’s probate estate, the personal representative may be liable to the beneficiaries for any harm they may suffer.