A personal representative (or executor) is the individual appointed in court to administer the estate of a deceased Florida resident. From opening the estate to distributing the assets to the beneficiaries/heirs of the decedent, the personal representative must meet strict statutory regulations.
In this article, you will discover the essentials of Florida probate inventory.
Who is Responsible for Handling the Probate Inventory in Florida?
Florida Statutes §733.602 (1) provides that “a personal representative is a fiduciary who shall observe the standards of care applicable to trustees. A personal representative is under a duty to settle and distribute the estate of the decedent in accordance with the terms of the decedent’s will and this code as expeditiously and efficiently as is consistent with the best interests of the estate.”
The same statute outlines that “a personal representative shall use the authority conferred by this code, the authority in the will, if any, and the authority of any order of the court, for the best interests of interested persons, including creditors.”
One of the primary responsibilities of a personal representative in formal probate administration is to make a full inventory. In essence, the inventory is a list of all the decedent’s assets that are subject to probate in Florida.
This is a fundamental step that cannot be taken for granted, as the decedent’s beneficiaries or heirs must know exactly what is included in the probate estate. Additionally, it ensures the required level of transparency between the parties involved in the probate procedures.
Florida Probate Inventory – As Provided by Law
Throughout the probate administration, the personal representative has a fiduciary duty to the decedent’s estate and its beneficiaries/heirs.
Florida Probate Rule 5.340 (a) states that “unless an inventory has been previously filed, the personal representative shall file an inventory of the estate within 60 days after issuance of letters.” The same rule adds that “the inventory shall contain:
- Notice of the beneficiaries’ rights under subdivision (e)
- List the estate with reasonable detail, and
- Include for each listed item (excluding real property appearing to be protected homestead property) its estimated fair market value at the date of the decedent’s death”
Homestead property must also be listed and properly designated. As provided by Florida Statutes §733.604 (2), “the personal representative shall file a verified amended or supplementary inventory showing any new items and their estimated value at the date of the decedent’s death, or the revised estimated value or description” if:
- The executor learns of any property not included in the original inventory, or
- The executor learns that the estimated value or description indicated in the original inventory for any item is erroneous or misleading (…)”
State law also requires, upon proper request in writing, the personal representative to furnish “a written explanation of how the inventory value for an asset was determined, or, if an appraisal was obtained, a copy of the appraisal, as follows:
- To a residuary beneficiary or heir in an intestate estate, regarding all inventoried assets
- To any other beneficiary, regarding all assets distributed or proposed to be distributed to that beneficiary”