How To Object To The Final Accounting of a Personal Representative in Florida
The final accounting can be complex. As many Florida residents might know, the probate of an estate can be a very lengthy process that can be full of mistakes. Mistakes are often made when the estate’s personal representative makes the final accounting of the estate. What many people do not realize is that they have the right to object to the final accounting.
The Florida probate rules state that an interested person has 30 days to object to a Final Accounting and Petition for Discharge after the documents have been served. However, a simple broad objection will not work. Written objections must state what parts of the accounting the person is objecting to, and what specific grounds the objections are based upon.
Most importantly, all objections must be served upon the personal representative, along with the other interested parties of the estate, no later than 30 days from the date of service of either the Petition for Discharge or the Final Accounting.
So what is an objection a beneficiary can make to the final accounting?
One objection may be that the personal representative used estate funds to pay him or herself. According to Florida statute 733.609, a personal representative owes fiduciary duties to the estate’s beneficiaries. These fiduciary duties include avoiding fraud, waste of the estate property, and self-dealing from the estate.
What does self-dealing mean? This rule means that a personal representative cannot personally benefit from serving as the estate’s personal representative. For instance, the personal representative cannot give him or herself a loan from the estate property. Further, he or she cannot pay themselves a significant fee for their services.
Usually, the problem with the accounting lies with the accounting itself. The accounting can be confusing. Most people, including attorneys, have a hard time to correctly creating the final accounting. One of the more confusing parts of the final accounting is determining what is income versus what is principal, along with the various schedules.
It is important that once you receive the accounting to quickly review the document for mistakes or evidence of misuse by the personal representative. As was stated earlier in the article, you only have 30 days after being served to file an objection. If you do not object within this time period, then you have waived the ability to object and won’t be able to do so at a later date.
If you are a beneficiary of a large estate, then it is imperative that you contact a Jacksonville probate attorney to review the final accounting to make sure you are receiving your full share of the estate. The final accounting is a complicated document and one that must be prepared thoroughly. For more information on how to object to a final accounting, please contact The Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC today.