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Understanding the duties of a personal representative

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2023 | Estate Planning

When a person creates an estate plan, they often name a proposed personal representative. A personal representative is the person who is responsible for administering the estate.

They have many important duties, which take effect after the person who created the estate plan passes away.

Estate administration process

If the deceased person had a will, the personal representative’s first responsibility is to file the will and supporting documents with the probate court in Florida. The court will determine whether the will is valid.

The personal representative must also inventory the deceased person’s assets. These include real estate, personal property and financial accounts. The personal representative must safeguard the assets as well, which includes not distributing them to any beneficiaries right away.

They must also notify the deceased person’s creditors, if any, so they have an opportunity to collect on any outstanding debts. If any money is owed, the personal representative will pay the creditors out of the estate.

Closing the estate

Before the personal representative can close the estate, they must file tax returns for the deceased person and pay any required taxes. Then, they can distribute the assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.

The distribution must be completed as the deceased person directed in the will. For example, the personal representative cannot change the share of assets one beneficiary receives if they are unhappy with the amount.

The personal representative must also complete a final accounting and submit that to the court. If a person needs assistance to complete an estate plan, there is help available.