An executor, also known as a Personal Representative in Florida is responsible for managing a deceased person’s debts and assets during probate. The Personal Representative is also responsible for transferring assets to beneficiaries in accordance with a deceased individual’s will. In most cases, Personal Representatives in Florida and throughout the country have a fiduciary duty to an estate. If funds are not used properly, they could be held personally responsible for any claims against it.
Testators should provide guidance to the individual they select to act as their Personal Representative before they pass away which will hopefully prevent complications later on. This may help to clarify their intentions and make it easier for Personal Representatives to make decisions without causing controversy. It may also be a good idea for individuals to have estate planning conversations with their executors.
An estate representative will need to take a series of actions to secure and inventory assets in the hours and days after a person dies. These actions could include changing the locks on a home or taking possession of a computer that has passwords to social media or financial accounts. Ideally, an executor will know where to find the information needed to obtain bank statements or close financial accounts. Estate representatives will also need to open a bank account in the estate’s name after the probate process commences
A probate and estate administration attorney may help executors fulfill their obligations in a timely and organized manner. In many cases, relying on the advice of legal counsel may help to reduce an estate representative’s liability. This means that he or she may not be personally responsible for any mistakes that are made. Relying on an attorney for guidance may also minimize the chances that mistakes are made at all.