Choosing the Right Personal Representative for Your Estate
There are many decisions to be made when planning out your estate, namely determining how your assets will be distributed upon your death. This article will focus on the importance of selecting a trustworthy personal representative for your estate to ensure that your Will is properly addressed and respected.
A Personal Representative is the person (or corporation) that will be in charge of managing the distribution of assets in your estate. A Personal Representative is in charge of several administrative duties such as paying bills using your estate’s funds and distributing the assets in your estate to its’ beneficiaries.
In the state of Florida, certain requirements must be met for someone to be a Personal Representative to your Will. For Florida residents, a potential guardian must be at least 18 years old and mentally fit to serve as your Personal Representative. Additionally, corporations such as a bank can act as your Personal Representative but only if they can legally serve as a fiduciary* in the state. A non-Florida resident who wishes to serve as an Personal Representative to a Florida resident’s will must be related to the person in some way – such as a sibling, parent, child (biological or adopted), or spouse.
Disputes sometimes arise when an estate is being handled by family members or others who feel that they are entitled to a part of a person’s estate. Delegating a proper Personal Representative can be extremely beneficial in the event of a dispute from outsiders or a disagreement between beneficiaries. You should consider choosing a Personal Representative that knows the specifics of your Will and understands how you want your assets distributed. A proper Personal Representative of an estate should be able to help an attorney mediate any unforeseen complications by providing useful information relevant to the estate.
Additionally, you should select a Personal Representative that you believe handles stressful situations well. The death of a loved one is a tolling experience and it is best to choose someone that you believe will handle the proceedings of your estate in an emotionally strong manner. Though spouses and children are often picked as a Personal Representative of an estate, perhaps picking a long-time friend or associate may be of interest to you. Selecting a Personal Representative who is more removed from the hardship of your passing may help prevent feuds or bitterness in the dispersal of your estate.
*Fiduciary – Involving trust, especially with regard to the relationship between a trustee and a beneficiary.
This article is written by Florida attorneys and only considers Florida law in place at the time of publication. This article should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice and one should always consult with an attorney in their state before making any legal decisions.
At The Estate Plan, we take pride in serving our clients with compassion, competence and creativity. After all, we’re all unique. It takes a special comfort and confidence to trust someone to handle protecting one’s family and possessions. We appreciate being that person for so many families. If you are interested in coming in for a consultation, do not hesitate to contact us at (305) 665–8888.