Many legal issues arise during the probate or trust administration process. If you are a personal representative appointed by the Judge, you have an immense amount of responsibility because you are the person who is charged with collecting the assets, paying the bills, maintaining the assets and distributing the property in accordance with Florida law. You could be held liable to the beneficiaries if you are accused of mismanaging the decedent's probate estate. An experienced Fort Myers probate attorney (link to Probate and Trust Administration page) can help you.
According to Florida law, an individual can be appointed as a personal representative if he or she is a spouse, sibling, parent, child, close relative of the deceased individual, or if the individual is a Florida resident. Florida law does allow a trust company, bank or savings and loan to act as a personal representative and authorizes the entity to use fiduciary powers.
There are many steps involved in administering a probate estate and some of your duties will include the following:
- Various issues with a will, such as a will contest, whether the will was properly executed or what happens if the will is confusing or ambiguous
- Identifying, collecting and maintaining probate assets
- Providing potential creditors with notice of the probate proceeding
- Deciding whether to contest creditor claims
- Dealing with issues when the claims exceed the probate assets
- Homestead issues
- Paying claims
- Distributing probate assets to beneficiaries
- Dealing with issues when a specific gift or gifts are not properly funded
- Filing tax returns
- Filing federal estate tax returns
- Preparing accountings
- Closing the probate estate
As you can imagine, many complications may occur during a probate proceeding. If you are not familiar with probate, you could end up making misinformed decisions resulting in wasted assets and personal liability. Further, this could jeopardize your relationship with your siblings or other family members. You can protect yourself and the probate estate by working with an experienced Fort Myers probate lawyer. An attorney can explain your legal rights and obligations as a personal representative.
Losing a loved one is an emotional and devastating experience. Cody & Linde, PLLC is experienced in handling trust and probate administration and can help you. Contact a Fort Myers probate attorney today at (239) 939-7100 for legal assistance. We will explain the probate process in Florida and help you ensure that the estate is properly administered. Please also download our free information concerning the probate process.
Our law firm represents clients in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Naples, Immokalee, Lee County, Charlotte County, Collier County, Henry County and Highland County.