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Florida Probate Basics - The Personal Representative

The Personal Representative (known in other states as the Executor or Executrix) is the person responsible for carrying out the wishes the decedent expressed in his or her will. Usually, the Personal Representative is named by the decedent in the will. However, the Personal Representative does not acquire the actual authority to act on behalf of the estate until he or she is officially appointed the Personal Representative by the probate judge.

The Personal Representative is a fiduciary. This means that he or she is expected to always act in the best interests of the estate. For example, the Personal Representative must make sure the estate assets are safe and protected until distributed to the estate beneficiaries. Also, if an estate asset is to be sold, the Personal Representative is responsible for making sure it is sold for a fair price.

The Personal Representative is also in charge of identifying the creditors of the estate and making sure that the debts and obligations of the decedent are paid from the probate assets in accordance with the priorities and procedures set out in the probate creditor rules.

Because the Personal Representative is a fiduciary, he or she can be personally liable if he or she does not act in the best interests of the estate or doesn’t properly follow the rules for paying creditors and distributing assets to the beneficiaries. The Personal Representative must keep detailed records of all the actions he or she takes on behalf of the estate.

Personal Representatives may employ an attorney to help guide them through the sometimes complicated rules and procedures associated with the probate process (and have the legal fees paid for through the estate). In fact, in Florida, in some probate proceedings, the Personal Representative is required to hire an attorney to assist with the probate process.

Being named a Personal Representative is an honor however, because it is also a big responsibility, being named the Personal Representative should not come as a surprise. It is a selection that should only be made after a serious and frank discussion about the responsibilities involved and a knowing acceptance by the Personal Representative of that role.

  • Why Choose
    Our Firm?

    We limit the number of clients that we have at one time, allowing us to focus on your case.

    Personalized Representation
  • Know the
    Benefits

    Find out if you and your family can benefit from our elder law planning services!

    More Information
  • Dedicated & Experienced

    Our firm exclusively handles elder law concerns so your family can obtain peace of mind.

    Meet Your Attorney
  • Complimentary Consultation

    Let us help. Request your consultation today and we will be in touch.

    Contact Us Now

Contact Us

Edwards Elder Law, P.A.
St. Petersburg Elder Law Attorney
Located at: 2510 1st Ave. N.,
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
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Phone: (727) 755-5808
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.