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Picking Your Personal Representative

mattWhen people make a will they generally focus on what they wish to have done with their property upon their passing.  Although that is certainly important, one of the most overlooked aspects of estate planning is choosing the right person to carry out your instructions.

A personal representative, also sometimes referred to an as executor, is the person in charge of administering an individual’s estate.  In basic terms, he or she will manage all assets during probate including paying off creditors and distributing funds to the proper beneficiaries. 

When someone dies with a will there are usually three ways a personal representative can be appointed: (1) Appointment through direct nomination within the document; (2) selection by a majority of the persons entitled to the estate; or (3) if more than one option exists, the court may select the individual best qualified.  When someone dies without a will the personal representative will usually be a spouse, a close relative, or an individual appointment by the court.

When it comes to qualifications, anyone who is mentally competent and is a Florida resident at the time of death may serve.  Persons who are not qualified are convicted felons and those under the age of eighteen.  If someone is not a Florida resident they can still serve is they are related to the decedent by blood, or are married to the spouse of a blood relative.  Certain entities can also serve as a personal representative should that be with wish of an individual. 

In order that someone’s wishes be carried out properly it is important to fully express your choice for a personal representative in your will.  If you have any questions about personal representatives, or about any other aspect of probate, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Posted February 24, 2014