When someone passes away, their assets need to be properly distributed to their beneficiary. This will take place either in court through Probate or outside of court by the Administration of the Trust.
If the assets are subject to Probate, a Personal Representative must be appointed. The Personal Representative (sometimes called the Executor in other states) is the person charged with the duty to do the following:
- Identify and marshal the assets of the decedent.
- Publish a Notice to Creditors in the newspaper.
- Locate and identify all creditors.
- File a Notice of Administration and notify interested parties.
- Pay all valid claims against the estate.
- Pay the expenses of administering the estate.
- Distribute assets to the beneficiaries.
- Work with lawyers, accountants etc. to administer the estate.
Depending on the type of probate, Florida Law may require that the Personal Representative be represented by an attorney.
Even if the decedent did not have a Will, probatable assets must pass through Probate before they can distributed. The Florida Statutes outline the rights of possible beneficiaries and determines in what order they must be paid. As an example if there is surviving spouse and no lineal descendants, then the spouse is entitled to the entire estate.
If there is no surviving spouse than all lineal descendants of the deceased are entitled to an equal share.
When someone creates a Revocable Trust they will have named a Successor Trustee. When the grantor passes away the Revocable Trust becomes irrevocable and the Successor Trustee takes over and is charged with the following duties:
- Locate all assets of the Trust.
- Notify all beneficiaries and all descendants even if they were not named in the Trust.
- Hire an attorney to help with the process.
- Locate all potential creditors and pay all valid claims by creditors.
- File a Notice of Trust with the Court.
- Pay all expenses incurred by the Trust.
- Provide a full accounting, liquidate all trust assets and distribute the assets to the proper beneficiaries.
Whether your case requires Probate or Trust Administration our office can represent you.