The role of an executor in estate planning involves multiple duties. An executor takes care of the final responsibilities of an estate, steward the decedent’s assets through the probate process, and manage the distribution of assets according to the decedent’s will after their passing. In Florida, the executor is referred to as a personal representative.
If you’re preparing your estate plan, naming your personal representative is an important part of the process. For beneficiaries or even those who are named as a personal representative, you may want to know more about how a personal representative’s role works.
What Are the Full Responsibilities of a Personal Representative?
A personal representative is expected to:
- Identify and protect the assets of the estate
- Provide information about the probate process to beneficiaries
- Work to notify creditors to allow them to file claims
- Pay debts of the estate
- File and pay any outstanding taxes
- Distribute assets to beneficiaries
- Pay the expenses of estate administration
Other duties are required of a personal representative beyond those listed above. Due to the complicated legal matters involved, the personal representative may want to work with a lawyer. A lawyer can help the personal representative with any issues that may arise during the probate process.
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Who Can Be Named As a Personal Representative in Florida?
In Florida, either an individual person or a financial institution may be designated as a personal representative. If they are an individual, state law requires that the personal representative be:
- A resident of Florida
- Over 18
- A close relative of the decedent (a spouse, parent, sibling, or another close relation)
If there was no personal representative appointed in the will, then the court will appoint one as they see fit. This is one important reason why those considering their estate plans should name someone for this responsibility. Otherwise, there will be uncertainty for the family following their loved one’s passing – and someone may be appointed to the role.
What Else Is Involved in Estate Planning?
Estate planning allows an individual to make arrangements for their estate’s management after their passing. The estate planning process may involve:
- Selecting a personal representative
- Determining how assets will be divided among beneficiaries
- Making plans for surviving children’s custody or education
- Making plans for charitable donations
- Determining how to reduce estate tax burdens
- Arranging powers of attorney
A lawyer can help with every aspect of the estate planning process, from assisting with writing a will to explaining the role of a personal representative.
Estate Planning and Probate
You may also wish to make arrangements for your estate so that your beneficiaries can avoid the probate process. Probate involves court proceedings that will oversee the identification and distribution of your assets.
It may be possible to structure your assets so that your heirs will avoid probate. For instance, establishing a living trust can help your family avoid probate in Florida. A lawyer can also tell you more about how your estate can transfer to your beneficiaries as efficiently as possible.
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What Can an Attorney Do to Help with Estate Planning?
It can be overwhelming for some to consider the idea of estate planning. However, planning for what happens to an estate after your passing can give you and your family peace of mind. You can feel comforted knowing that your efforts now will help take care of your loved ones in the future.
You can have a lawyer’s help with every detail of your estate plan. They can walk you through all your questions and concerns. They can:
- Help uphold your interests and desires by drafting your will
- Assist you with selecting a guardian for any minor children or other dependents
- Establish trusts for the transfer of your assets
- Help you establish a personal representative
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When Should You Set Up an Estate Plan?
Establishing an estate plan can be done at any life stage. You may wish to set up an estate plan or update an existing plan if:
- You were recently married or recently became a parent
- You recently had grandchildren
- You recently divorced
- You need to arrange for powers of attorney
- You recently purchased a home
- You have new major assets
If you’re unsure about whether you need to make changes to an existing will, our team can help you think through your options. You don’t have to be alone in the process.
Let Bogin, Munns & Munns Help you with an Estate Plan
Our estate planning attorneys have decades of experience helping people arrange their family’s finances. We can support you through every step of the estate planning process. If you are a personal representative now managing an estate, we can help you with your responsibilities and represent you during the probate process.
Call us today to learn more about how the attorneys at Bogin, Munns & Munns can help: 407-578-1334.
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