If you have been named the executor (a/k/a personal representative) of an estate, you will probably have some questions about your exact duties and responsibilities when it comes to the Florida probate process. In general, after your appointment by the probate court as executor, you are responsible for administrating the probate process on behalf of the estate and are accountable to the estate’s beneficiaries.
An executor’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Compiling a thorough inventory of estate assets and liabilities;
- Providing creditors with notice and settling outstanding debts;
- Accounting for and paying any estate taxes;
- Accounting for any fees related to the probate;
- Providing an inventory to the court (i.e., a list of probate assets);
- Distributing assets to heirs; and
- Providing a final accounting to the court at the close of probate.
Many people who have been named the executor of an estate find the Florida probate process to be overwhelming, which it certainly can be for someone with no legal experience. Thankfully, an executor does not have to navigate this process alone. Engaging an experienced Florida probate lawyer is always an option for executors, with the estate being responsible for any fees incurred for legal services during probate.
Can probate be avoided altogether?
Many people assume that the Florida probate process can be avoided if they leave a Last Will and Testament, but this is not always the case. The way a deceased’s property is titled determines if it has to go through the probate process. Furthermore, if the deceased died without a Will, Florida’s intestacy laws will govern how the deceased’s assets will be distributed.
A probate estate may also become contested – for example, if a potential heir has been left out of the will, or if the will was not updated to include subsequent potential heirs (new spouse, children, etc.).
If there is real property at issue, title to the property can often times not be transferred until the property has been probated, unless the Last Will & Testament has a power of sale clause or court approval is obtained. For these and many other reasons, it is important to consult with an experienced Florida probate lawyer if you are the executor of an estate.
How Farshchian Law Can Help
At Farshchian Law, we provide straightforward solutions to complex problems and seek to relieve the burden of probate for individuals and families. To learn more about our probate services and for a free consultation with a Florida probate attorney, please call us at (800) 604-1871 or send an email to Probate@JFRealEstateLaw.com. We provide real estate, probate, estate planning, and title/closing services throughout the State of Florida.