If you have been chosen to represent the estate of another after they pass, you need to consider the help of an attorney with experience in estate law. A Palm City estate administration lawyer can help you avoid the numerous mistakes that could cause more problems than you need. Reach out to an attorney immediately.
Estate administration refers to the entire process of a probate case. This process begins with a petition and includes a variety of filings and terminology such as an inventory, a statement regarding creditors, and, ultimately, a final accounting and petition for discharge. The estate administration process normally takes six to twelve months or, perhaps, longer. One of the big factors in the length of the probate is whether any cash returns must be filed for the decedent’s estate.
An individual has great discretion in determining who their personal representative would be by declaring such within their will. If a person is named as a personal representative in a decedent’s will, provided that the person qualifies, they are likely to be appointed by the judge upon petition to the probate court. However, a personal representative may not serve if he or she has a felony conviction or is a minor.
In order for a personal representative to serve in a Florida probate case, though, the personal representative must either be a Florida resident or a close blood relative as defined by the Florida Statutes.
There are two important things to look for in an estate administrator. First, a person should choose someone in whom they have an exceptionally high level of trust. This may be another family member, a close friend or an advisor. Second, it is important that the person nominated as a personal representative within a will meets the statutory requirements so that they may be appointed someday if and when the time comes.
Some of the major duties of a personal representative administering an estate include identifying any known or potential estate creditors and providing them with notice, paying qualified estate debts, filing tax returns, filing mandatory disclosures and statements with the probate court, and ultimately distributing remaining assets to the estate’s beneficiaries. A Palm City estate administration lawyer could help administrators with these duties.
An estate lawyer can help a personal representative by making sure that he or she is fulfilling their fiduciary duties and complying with all facets of Florida probate law. The lawyer can also help in determining which claims, if any, against the estate are valid and which may not need to be paid. In certain circumstances, if there are several claims or claims of significant value, the lawyer would help the personal representative in prioritizing which claims to pay and in what order. In a broad sense, the estate lawyer’s job is to guide the personal representative through the process and to avoid major pitfalls.
A Palm City estate administration lawyer is an invaluable asset when you have been selected as a personal administrator of an estate. There are many laws governing how assets must be distributed, and with little to no experience with estate law, you could find yourself in a tricky situation. Instead of performing your fiduciary duties alone, retain the services of an experienced Martin County attorney.