Duties of Executors in Florida: Broad Powers to Carry Out an Estate Plan
Executors, known as "personal representatives" under Florida law, are appointed to carry out the intent of a will.
July 05, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Whether they are involved in estate planning or dealing with the recent death of a loved one, people often seek answers about the duties of executors under Florida law. In the most general sense, executors carry out the intent of a will. In Florida, the legal term for an executor is "personal representative."
Chapter 733 of Florida Statutes designates the duties and powers of personal representatives. The range of legal responsibilities includes commencing the probate process, reviewing the extent of the assets of the deceased, collecting on debts that were owed to the testator, and paying existing obligations to debtors and other claimants.
An executor must also carry out the most important task following the death of a person: distributing inheritances to the named beneficiaries in the will or under Florida's intestacy statutes (meaning the person did not have a will). For all of these important reasons, Florida law classifies personal representatives as having "fiduciary" powers, which means they have a legally enforceable duty to serve the best interests of the estate.
People who create a formal estate plan almost always express their preference for appointment of a personal representative upon death. If for some reason that person cannot serve, the executor is chosen by a majority of the people who are entitled to the estate. If the person dies without a will, the court will appoint an executor, with first priority going to the surviving spouse.
Advising Clients About Choosing Personal Representatives
Particularly if a complex estate is involved, people often choose to designate their estate planning attorney to serve as personal representative. A wills and trusts lawyer can also advise survivors about concerns over an appointed executor's breach of fiduciary duties or other irregularities.
Article provided by Bryant Law Firm
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