Frequently Asked Questions about Probate Personal Representative

What is a Personal Representative?

The personal representative is the person, bank, or trust company appointed by the court to be in charge of the administration of the estate. Other terms used to describe the personal representative: executor, administrator.

What is the Personal Representative responsible for accomplishing?

The personal representative has a variety of responsibilities:

  • Identify, gather, evaluate, and safeguard all probate assets
  • Publish a “notice to creditors” giving notice of the administration of the estate, along with the requirements to file a claim
  • Serve a “notice of administration” to specific people to give notice of any requirements to file objections regarding the estate
  • Notify all reasonably ascertainable creditors
  • Object to improper claims and defend any resulting lawsuits
  • Pay valid claims
  • File tax returns
  • Pay taxes
  • Employ necessary professionals to assist in the process
  • Pay administrative expenses
  • Distribute assets to surviving family
  • Distribute assets to other beneficiaries
  • Close probate administration

Who can be a Personal Representative?

The personal representative can be an individual (usually stated in the will), a bank, or a trust company. To qualify as a personal representative, an individual must be either a Florida resident, or a spouse, sibling, parent, child, or other close relative of the decedent. Florida law provides for which persons have priority in serving as the personal representative in the event someone did not have a will.

How are personal representative/attorney fees determined throughout the Probate process?

Personal representative fees will be determined in one of five ways:

  1. The fee is as stated in the will
  2. The fee is determined in a contract between the personal representative and the decedent 
  3. Agreed upon between the personal representative and whoever is paying their fees (ie. Beneficiaries)
  4. The amount presumed to be reasonable as calculated under the law, if the amount is without objection
  5. Determined by the judge

The personal representative’s attorney’s fees will be determined in one of three ways:

  1. As agreed upon by the attorney, the personal representative, and the persons paying the fee
  2. The amount presumed to be reasonable as calculated under the law, if the amount is without objection
  3. Determined by the judge

Call 407.648.4940 or contact Coye Law Firm today for a free, private strategy session about your case.

The expert estate planning attorneys at Coye Law Firm are experienced with Florida, New York, Michigan, and District of Columbia law and are here to help.