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What Is a Personal Representative in Florida?

A personal representative is an individual appointed by the probate court to represent the estate of the deceased. This person is sometimes referred to as the executor of the Will. They play a critical role in the administration of the deceased’s estate.

How Is a Personal Representative Chosen in Naples?

hand signing a personal representative form for estateTypically, the personal representative is named in the deceased’s will. The court will honor this appointment as long as the individual is legally qualified to serve as a personal representative in Florida.

If there is no Will, the court will choose to appoint someone to handle this role. The surviving spouse is given preference. If there is no surviving spouse or the surviving spouse declines the role, the heirs who represent the majority can select who they wish to serve. If the heirs cannot agree, the court will hold a hearing to appoint someone.

In a summary administration, a personal representative will not be chosen as the court will take care of this role.

Does the Individual Named in the Will Have to Serve?

The person named as the personal representative in a Will can accept or decline the position. Usually it is not a surprise that you are named as the executor of the will, but over time circumstances may have changed and you can not handle the job. If the Will named an alternate, that individual could step into the role. Otherwise, the court will appoint someone else.

What Qualifications Are Needed to Be a Personal Representative in Naples, Florida?

Under Florida law, there are four requirements that a person must meet to be eligible to serve:

1. The individual must be at least 18 years of age.

2. The individual must be a resident of Florida.

3. The individual must be mentally and physically capable of performing the duties of a personal representative.

4. The individual cannot be a convicted felon.

What are the Responsibilities?

The job of a personal representative in Naples begins after the decedent dies and the court approves the appointment. The general duties of a personal representative in Naples are:

1. File the will with the court. If the decedent died in Naples, the original will should be filed with the Collier County Clerk within ten days of receiving notice that the person died.

2. Send notice. The personal representative must file a Notice to Creditors to alert potential creditors and send a service of Notice of Administration to all interested parties.

3. Prepare an inventory of probate assets. The personal representative must gather and consolidate Decedent’s assets. The Personal representative will identify and list the deceased’s assets and their value. It may be necessary to get appraisals of real estate and personal property.

4. Manage the probate assets. The personal representative manages the probate assets until they are distributed to the beneficiaries. Examples of probate property in Naples include bank accounts, personal property, business interests, and real estate.

5. Pay outstanding bills and other expenses. Before distributing the inheritance to the beneficiaries, the personal representative must pay all valid creditor claims. They can also pay funeral and other administrative expenses on behalf of estate.

6. Pay taxes. The personal representative must work with a CPA to prepare final income tax returns. They should file a final individual income tax return (Form 1040) covering the period from the beginning of the year until the date of death. They must also file a federal estate tax return (Form 706) if the estate is valued at over $12.92 million.

7. Make distributions to beneficiaries. The personal representative must distribute the probate assets to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the Will or Florida’s intestate laws. They will communicate with beneficiaries regarding status of estate and distributions.

8. Work with a realtor and assist with sale of home. It is often necessary to sell the decendent’s home to liquidate the asset for distribution and paying bills and expenses on behalf of the estate.

9. Remove tangible personal property from home. They are required to take care of removing personal effects and property from the home to either distribute to beneficiaries or work with charity to donate

10. File a final accounting. The personal representative must prepare a final accounting listing all the financial changes to the estate since the initial inventory.

How Can I Get Help To Do This Job?

In Naples, if you are tasked with this duty, you understand you play a critical role in the administration of an estate. The tasks ahead can seem very overwhelming, especially because you are taking on this role at a time when you are dealing with the grief of losing a loved one.

The first step you should take is to reach out to qualified Naples estate administration lawyer, James Nici. He is an experienced estate administration lawyer  who is very familiar with the probate process and can guide you through every step of the process. With his help, you can rest assured that the process will run smoothly and the estate will be closed as soon as possible.

A personal representative can be liable for mismanagement of the estate administration, so having a lawyer like Naples lawyer James Nici will help you avoid making an error and then worrying about consequences of your mistakes.

Call James Nici – Naples Estate Administration Lawyer

If you have questions about administration of an estate or probate, you should contact Nici Law Firm. James R. Nici is an experienced Naples attorney with over 25 years of experience.

Based in Naples and headed up by attorney James Nici, Nici Law Firm offers legal guidance in:

Estate planning

Estate administration

Asset protection

Probate services

Business Planning

Florida Domicile

Strategic Estate Planning System

Nici Law Firm serves clients in the towns of southwest Florida: Naples, Bonita Springs, Marco Island, Ave Maria, Immokalee, Estero, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Sanibel.

Contact our office today at (239) 449-6150 or use our web form to set up a free consultation.

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