Selecting A Personal Representative For Your Will
A will provides important guidance in Florida probate court proceedings. As part of creating one, you will need to name someone to act as your personal representative. Our Tampa estate planning lawyer explains more about the duties of a personal representative in probate and how to select the right person for the task.
Who Can Act As A Personal Representative In Florida Probate Court Proceedings?
In Florida probate court proceedings, your will acts as a roadmap. It details the property and assets you possess, specifies who you want to inherit from your estate, and determines how distributions are made.
During the probate process, other important matters must be addressed as well. In addition to collecting and safeguarding assets prior to distribution and notifying beneficiaries, any outstanding debts must be settled and final taxes on the estate must be paid. Your personal representative is responsible for performing these tasks. This is someone you name in your will, who has a fiduciary duty. This means that any actions or inactions on their part must be in your best interests.
Section 733 of the Florida Statutes explains more about the specific duties of a personal representative and who may act in this role. Generally, qualifications include:
- They must be at least 18 or older;
- They must be a resident of Florida at the time of your death;
- They must not have any felony convictions on their record;
- They must be physically and mentally capable of assuming this role.
Qualities To Look For When Selecting A Personal Representative In Tampa
Many people select their spouse to act as their personal representative or an adult child. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it is important to consider some of the duties they will have to perform and their mental state at the time. In the midst of grieving your loss, they will be required to travel to and from the Hillsborough County Court, in some cases on a regular basis.
In addition to attending probate proceedings and answering to the court, they may also need to resolve problems among beneficiaries and issues concerning creditors, tax officials, or others involved. To ensure the person you select is up to the task, look for the following qualities:
- They are in overall good health, with no serious disabilities;
- They have access to transportation and are able to travel if required;
- They have the time and energy to devote to the task;
- They have some basic business, property management, and tax knowledge;
- You trust them to manage your final affairs wisely, in accordance with your wishes, and in a way that protects the best interests of you and those you love.
Discuss Your Options With Our Tampa Estate Planning Lawyer
Selecting the right personal representative for your will is an important task and one that could impact your loved ones in years to come. To discuss your options, reach out to Bubley & Bubley, P.A. Call or contact our Tampa estate planning lawyer online and request a consultation today.