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I’m a personal representative; now what?

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2022 | Estate Administration

It can be gratifying to find out that your loved one named you as the personal representative for their estate. Choosing you for this role means they trust you to oversee the distribution of their estate now that they have passed away.

Acting as a personal representative comes with many responsibilities. It is essential to learn about the estate administration process and your role in handling your loved one’s estate through probate.

Here’s what you should know about your responsibilities as a personal representative.

Starting the probate process

One of your first tasks will be to file a probate case, usually with the help of an attorney. This is an important task because it begins the probate process.

In Florida, you must deposit your loved one’s original will with the Clerk of Court in the county where they lived within 10 days of learning of their death. When doing so, you must provide the date of their death and the last four digits of their social security number.

After depositing your loved one’s original will with the court, there are several other tasks within the probate process that may include:

  • Creating a list of outstanding debts and other bills the estate may have to pay
  • Determining the assets of your loved one and compiling an inventory of those assets
  • Coordinating the distribution of the remaining assets at the appropriate time
  • Locating beneficiaries

In some cases, the probate process can move quickly. More often than not, it will take several months. The process also involves specific waiting periods as governed by Florida probate laws.

What if the role is too much for me to handle?

There are certain stages of life when acting as a personal representative could prove to be too much for an individual to handle. Responsibilities at home, work, or simply being overwhelmed by the process could lead you to want to resign as the personal representative.

Resigning from the role is possible, but do not make a hasty decision to do so. If your loved one nominated an alternate personal representative in their will, the alternate would take over with the court’s approval after you submit your resignation. When there is no alternate named, or the process to choose an alternate is not provided in the will, the court will determine who is qualified to serve as the successor personal representative.


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