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What do I need to know to serve as Personal Representative of a Florida Estate?

We receive calls often from clients who have been appointed as Personal Representative in a loved ones Last Will & Testament. Often times, the client is unsure of what will be required of them and whether or not they will need counsel. Since being a Personal Representative involves significant legal duty, it is often advised the Personal Representative hire an attorney to ensure they are disposing of the estate correctly.

We also receive calls from clients that ask if they must act as Personal Representative if they have been named in someone’s Last Will & Testament? The answer is no. In Florida, the Personal Representative has to accept the responsibilities of carrying out the Testators last wishes. There are no special requirements to fulfill this role, and the Personal Representative may hire experts such as attorneys, accountants & other experts. The Personal Representative is under no obligation to remain the Personal Representative and may resign. Upon resignation, the successor Personal Representative named in the Testator’s Will, shall become the new Personal Representative. In the event, a successor is not appointed in the Testator’s Will; the Florida Probate court will appoint a Personal Representative to carry-out the estates affairs.

Another question revolves around the responsibilities of a Florida Personal Representative.

The duties of a Personal Representative will vary according to the Florida Probate Code, and the size of the Testator’s estate. Generally, a Personal Representative will be required to file the original Will document with the Florida court in the county the Decedent last lived. The Personal Representative generally will hire a Florida Probate Lawyer, to assist with determining whether Probate will be necessary. The Personal Representative can often pay for a Probate Lawyer from the Estate, and will assist the Personal Representative in handling other final affairs like Funeral Expenses, Filing Final Tax Returns and Notifying Creditors. It is a good idea to hire a Florida Probate lawyer to guide the Personal Representative through the Florida Probate System

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