Personal Representative / Executor Requirements

October 3, 2007

Your Florida Estate Planning Lawyer will tell you that being appointed the PR / executor of an estate is not easy. The PR takes a personal risk and large responsibility to the estate of the decedent, the IRS, and the beneficiaries.

client-meeting.jpgThe main job of the PR is to manage the administration of an estate. Many small estates in Florida are distributed without the need of a Personal Representative or Executor. If the decedent had valid Florida Will, the PR can be name from the will, if not the court will appoint a PR based on qualifications and an order of priority. Generally the spouse is the first to be chosen as a PR, next the adult children along with any children who have legal guardians can be the PR. There is a statutory scheme to determining who will be the PR in a Florida Probate Case.

The PR will be responsible for locating the will, and additional documents to help determine what the debts and assets of the decedent are. In Florida probate requires a Florida Attorney. Once you are appointed as the PR, the court will issue you Letters of Administration. This document allows you to act on behalf of the estate. When you take actions, you will have to notify any interested parties (beneficiaries and creditors). The assets of the estate may be used to pay valid claims. One very important job of the PR is to file all current and final tax returns. This is one area where the PR has personal liability for unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest. Once all of the assets have been accounted for, creditors paid, and beneficiaries determined, the PR will distribute the remaining assets as instructed in the will or by the intestate statutes. The PR is also responsible for filing the accounting (a balance sheet showing the amount of the assets and whom they belong to).

The personal representative is entitled to compensation for the work that they do. The personal representative is also able to hire professionals or others to advise and administer aspects of the estates.