The role of the personal representative is one of the most important aspects of a Florida probate case because he or she is the person who is appointed by the court to administer the decedent’s estate, which involves:
- Identifying and gathering the assets
- Paying all debts and taxes
- Distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the decedent’s will or Florida’s intestacy laws
- Filing reports with the court
- Closing the estate
The role of the personal representative in a probate case can be challenging and complex, especially if the estate is large, has many creditors, or disputes arise among the beneficiaries. That is why it is essential to have a qualified and experienced Florida probate attorney to guide and assist you throughout the process.
Who Can Be a Personal Representative in Florida?
The person who serves as a personal representative in a Florida probate case depends on whether the decedent had a will or not. If the decedent had a valid will, he or she may have named a person or an institution to be the personal representative.
However, the nominated personal representative must still meet certain legal requirements to be appointed by the court, such as:
- Being at least 18 years old
- Being a resident of Florida or a spouse, sibling, parent, child, or other close relative of the decedent
- Being mentally and physically capable of performing their duties
- Having no felony convictions
If the decedent did not have a will, or if the nominated personal representative is unable or unwilling to serve, then the court will choose a person or an institution to be the personal representative. This person or institution is called the statutory personal representative.
The order of preference for appointing a statutory personal representative is as follows:
- The surviving spouse of the decedent
- The person selected by a majority of the beneficiaries
- The nearest heir of the decedent
- A public administrator
How Is a Personal Representative Compensated in Florida?
The role of the personal representative in a probate case can be time-consuming and demanding, so it is fair that he or she receives reasonable compensation for his or her services. The compensation of a personal representative in Florida can be calculated in different ways, such as:
- A percentage of the value of the estate
- An hourly rate based on the time and effort spent
- A lump sum agreed upon by the personal representative and the beneficiaries
- A fee schedule established by local rules
However, the compensation of a personal representative is subject to approval by the court and may be reduced or increased depending on various factors, such as:
- The size and complexity of the estate
- The skill and experience of the personal representative
- The success and efficiency of the administration
- The existence and nature of any litigation or disputes
The compensation of a personal representative is paid from the assets of the estate before any distributions are made to the beneficiaries.
Do Personal Representatives Need to Hire a Probate Attorney?
As you can see above, the role of the personal representative in a Florida probate case is not an easy one. It requires knowledge of probate laws and procedures, attention to detail, and communication skills. Any mistake or omission can result in delays, penalties, lawsuits, or even personal liability.
That is why you need a probate attorney who can:
- Advise you on your rights and obligations as a personal representative
- Prepare and file all the necessary documents with the court
- Represent you in any hearings or negotiations with creditors, beneficiaries, or other parties
- Protect you from any claims or challenges against your actions or decisions
- Ensure that you comply with all legal requirements and deadlines
- Assist you with closing and distributing the estate
Jurado & Associates Can Help You With Your Probate Case
If you have been appointed as a personal representative in a Florida probate case, you do not have to go through the process alone. You can rely on Jurado & Associates, P.A. to provide you with professional and personalized legal services.
We specialize in probate law and have extensive experience in handling all types of probate cases in Florida. We understand how stressful and overwhelming it can be to deal with probate matters after losing a loved one. That is why we are committed to helping you navigate through every step of your probate case with compassion and efficiency.
We will handle all the legal aspects of your probate case, and we will work closely with you to understand your situation and goals, answer your questions, and address your concerns to ensure that you fulfill your duties and responsibilities in accordance with the law. We are here to make your probate process as smooth and hassle-free as possible. You can reach us by phone at (305) 921-0976, by email at [email protected], or by WhatsApp at +1 (305) 921-0976.