What Can a Personal Representative Do in a Boca Raton Probate?
If you are named someone’s personal representative for a Boca Raton estate, you need to understand your potential duties before agreeing to take on the role. Given this is a position that most people don’t have experience with, asking the right questions can clear up any concerns you have. Having a better understanding of a personal representative’s duties and responsibilities can also help reduce the risk of mistakes and allegations that you are not correctly handling your probate duties.
You have a fiduciary duty to the estate as a personal representative. You must always handle your duties competently, while still acting in the best interests of the heirs. To learn more about what is expected of a personal representative, contact a Boca Raton probate attorney.
Powers of a Florida Personal Representative
Depending on the estate’s size, the administration may be quick and straightforward, while other cases require months of work. Personal representatives have a list of specific duties in any probate, including securing and taking inventory of assets, notifying any creditors, and distributing the assets to the named heirs. Most tasks you can handle on your own, but others require court approval first.
Some actions that a personal representative can take without needing court approval include:
- Securing assets from various sources;
- Insuring the estate’s assets;
- Modify, extend, or renew any obligations that are owed to the estate;
- Retain the decedent’s assets to prepare for distribution or liquidation;
- Dispose of some assets, excluding homestead real estate, to satisfy creditor debts;
- Pay all taxes, assessments, and any other expenses the estate owes; and
- Retain an attorney who will provide benefit to the estate.
Under Florida Statutes Section 733.612, you can find the full list of general duties that a personal representative is responsible for. Personal representatives play a vital role as they are the ones who can protect the estate and distribute assets as directed.
What Duties Does a Personal Representative Have in a Florida Probate?
Most Boca Raton probate administrations follow the same general process. Duties of a personal representative can include:
- Get the death certificate (short form without cause of death);
- Gather all necessary documents;
- Identify and secure probate assets;
- Notify all creditors, including placing an ad to identify unknown ones;
- Pay estate’s valid claims;
- Hire any necessary professionals, like a Boca Raton probate attorney;
- Pay any probate administration-related expenses;
- File all tax returns and pay outstanding tax debts;
- Prepare an accounting;
- Distribute assets according to the will; and
- Close the estate.
When you have a Boca Raton probate attorney helping you, it can streamline the administration process. No two estates are alike. Your duties could be reduced if the estate is small or most assets are held in a valid trust. In other cases, a significant estate could prove to be a lot of work.
Contact a Boca Raton Probate Attorney
If you breach your fiduciary duties, a beneficiary could petition the court to have you removed from your position even if it was a mistake. That’s one reason why hiring a Boca Raton probate & real estate attorney is crucial. To learn more about how we can help, contact the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation.