5 Things To Consider When Appointing A Personal Representative For Your Estate
As most people know, estate planning generally starts with creating a will. Wills include a person’s wishes, particularly about how their property, assets, and keepsakes are distributed after death. When it comes time to prepare a will, not everybody has thought about a critical aspect – who, exactly, is going to handle the administration of the estate once you’re gone.
Florida has particular requirements that must be followed to make a valid will under Florida law. Beyond that, it is critical to ensure a personal representative is named and available at the time of death to help oversee the estate’s administration and ensure your wishes are carried out in line with the will. The person named is usually appointed by the probate court to handle these affairs, assuming they meet specific requirements. The personal representative is responsible for supervising property such as homes and vehicles, paying taxes and bills to creditors, and transferring the remaining assets and property to those entitled to it under the will.
Obviously, this can be a lot to handle, and not everybody is up to the task. Some considerations to think about for personal representatives include:
The personal representative is responsible for handling complex and private financial information and performing critical accounting functions as part of the role. You want somebody you can trust to handle these matters correctly. Some relatives, as much as we like them, aren’t as good with money or may face the temptation to misappropriate funds for themselves.
Some family members and people we know will have the responsibility, trustworthiness, and capacity to potentially serve as a personal representative. However, they may not have the time or ability to make the commitment, which can create problems when the time comes. You want to look for someone who has the availability and time in their schedule to perform the tasks required in this role.
Along with availability, location is also a crucial consideration. Florida law requires a decedent’s personal representative to be a Florida resident at the time of the person’s death or a descendant by blood, marriage, or adoption. (See Florida Statutes, Sec. 733.302 regarding personal representatives.) Assigning the personal representative role to a relative in California will create a problem if the person selected is not related by blood, marriage, or adoption. If the personal representative does not meet Florida’s requirements, a probate court may appoint a different one.
- Organizational Skills
Some people, frankly, are better at these things than others. If you are choosing between members of your family that are equally interested, you may want to select one with a better financial and business background. They could more easily step up and handle the sometimes confusing and overwhelming aspects of estate distribution.
- Health and Well-Being
A personal representative in Florida must be at least 18 years old but also mentally and physically able to perform the duties involved. When picking a personal representative, you need to look into the future and consider who will be available and capable when you pass on. You also want somebody who can give your estate the attention and focus it deserves, which means they should be mentally sharp at the time.
The Tampa Estate Planning Attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C., Can Help When it is Time to Plan Your Will
Planning a will and going through the steps involved – including appointing a personal representative – is intimidating. The skilled and compassionate Tampa estate planning attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C., have proven experience working with families on their estate planning goals. Our legal team is here to help you answer any questions about the process. Start the conversation by calling our attorneys today at 813-286-1700 or by scheduling a consultation online.