You have been named personal representative (“PR”) in a loved one’s last will and testament…what exactly does that mean?
A Personal Representative (sometimes called “executors”, “executrix”, “administrator”, “administratrix”) is legally responsible for winding down and distributing a deceased person’s estate, which includes (but not limited to) tasks such as ensuring creditors are addressed and assets are appropriately distributed to beneficiaries during what is referred to as a formal probate administration.
Serving as a personal representative can at times be a challenge, as not only are you dealing with the emotions of losing a loved one, you are now also in charge of quite the list of tasks and to-dos. The good news is that working with an experienced probate attorney will make the process much simpler and less complex.
To obtain the necessary authority to serve as personal representative, the decedent’s Will must be admitted to probate and the personal representative appointed via Letters of Administration and an Order Admitting the Will and Appointing Personal Representative. Depending on the terms of the will and/or the judge assigned, the personal representative may have to post a bond. Once appointed, you as the official personal representative step into the shoes of the decedent and handle the matters of the estate. A personal representative can be appointed even if there is not a will.
WHO CAN SERVE AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE IN FLORIDA?
To serve as a personal representative in Florida, you must be: (i) at least 18 years old; (ii) mentally and physically capable of performing the duties of a personal representative, and (iii) either: a Florida resident, OR related to the decedent by blood or marriage such as a spouse, parent, child, sibling, or other close relative of the decedent. Florida law prohibits anyone with a felony conviction from serving as a personal representative.
DO I GET PAID TO SERVE AS A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE?
The decedent’s will most likely allows for a personal representative to receive compensation, and either: (1) specifies a specific dollar amount; (2) opts to allow for the statutory allowed amount under Florida law; or (3) leaves a specific bequest. Your compensation will be taxable as ordinary income with the exception of a specific bequest. If you choose not to accept compensation, consider filing a fee waiver with the court. It is recommended you keep a detailed list of all time and expenses related to probating the estate.
Should you have a need for an experienced estate planning and probate attorney, please feel free to reach out to the Law Office of Jessica Lynn Silva, PLLC via call or text to (321) 474-2034 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are also welcome to reach out and request a copy of our helpful Personal Representative’s Checklist.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice to your particular situation as each situation is unique. It is always recommended you contact an attorney and seek his/her counsel.