What Does a Personal Representative Do?

The personal representative of an estate is a person, bank, or trust company appointed by the judge to administer the decedent’s estate. In Florida, the term “personal representative” is used instead of such terms as “executor, executrix, administrator and administratrix.”

Probate assets are those assets that the decedent owned in his or her sole name at death, or that were owned by the decedent and one or more co-owners and lacked a provision for automatic succession of ownership at death. The personal representative is empowered by the court to:

  1. Identify, gather, value, and safeguard the decedent’s probate and non-probate assets.
  2. Object to improper claims against the estate, and defend suits brought on such claims.
  3. File tax returns and pay any taxes properly due.
  4. Pay valid claims against the estate.
  5. 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.
  6. Serve a “Notice of Administration” which provides information about the pending estate administration and notice of the procedures required to be followed by those with an objection to the administration of the decedent’s estate.
  7. Employ professionals, as necessary, to assist in the administration of the decedent’s estate; for example, attorneys, certified public accountants, appraisers and investment advisors.
  8. 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.
  9. joint accounts in estate planningPay expenses of administering the decedent’s estate.
  10. Pay statutory amounts to the decedent’s surviving spouse or family.
  11. Distribute estate assets to beneficiaries.
  12. Close the estate.

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.

To schedule an appointment with a BaskinFleece attorney, call (727) 572-4545. For more information about BaskinFleece, visit www.BaskinFleece.com.

This blog is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Some of the content of this information is courtesy of The Florida Bar and represents general legal advice. Because the law is continually changing, some provisions in this blog may be out of date. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities in your particular case.