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What is the Role of a Personal Representative?

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When a person passes away owning property in Florida, he or she leaves behind a “probate estate.” Florida law requires that someone needs to be appointed the estate’s personal representative, who can be a family member or close friend of the dearly departed, as well as a trust company.

The personal representative is an official officer of the court. He or she must be over 20 years old, a Florida resident, or the spouse, sibling, parent, child, or close relative of the deceased.

The following are the responsibilities of a personal representative in Florida:

  • Identify and locate estate property. Personal representatives must find, identify, protect, store, and establish the value of all assets included in the estate. They must send out a “Notice of Administration,” which provides details on the administration of the estate under Florida law.
  • Notify creditors. Personal representatives must contact creditors who have a right to be paid for debts incurred by the decedent by filing claims with the estate.
  • Take care of taxes. Personal representatives must pay any taxes due and owed, as well as prepare and file the estate’s final tax returns.
  • Pay debts. When all debts have been confirmed, the personal representative must pay them, including the expenses that are incurred during the estate administration.
  • Distribute assets. As soon as the personal representative deals with the creditors, he or she needs to pay the amounts mandated by the Last Will and Testament to the beneficiaries.
  • Close the estate. Once all debts have been paid and all assets distributed, the personal representative must finalize the legal closing of the estate.

If you have had a death in the family and are facing difficulties with the probate process, contact our Jacksonville probate lawyer at Owenby Law, P.A. today.