Florida residents with assets or property to their name should look into creating a will or trust to ensure that their assets are delivered to the right people after they pass away. As part of this process, a person needs to select someone to be an executor for the will or a trustee for the trust. An executor, or personal representative, gets a decedent’s personal affairs in order and ensures that items covered by a will are given to the individuals indicated in the document.
After someone passes a way, an executor will need to determine whether the will has to be filed in probate court. Some estates are small enough that they do not need to pass through probate, but many need to be overseen by the courts. The probate process can be lengthy and cost money in court fees, which can be taken out of the estate. Whether or not a will goes through probate, an executor should keep detailed records of all expenses incurred and all actions taken in connection with executing the will since beneficiaries will be entitled to see this information before assets are distributed.
Executors also need to determine if other services are necessary to help them process the decedent’s assets, such as retaining a CPA or an attorney. An executor will be required to get a tax ID number for the estate itself and file an income tax return for the estate. Executors also have to ensure that a decedent’s debts are paid off before any assets are distributed.
Being asked to be an executor is an honor, but it can be complicated and time-consuming. An attorney who practices probate and estate administration may help executors go through all necessary steps associated with carrying out the last wishes and final obligations of a decedent.