DOES A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE RECEIVE COMPENSATION?
Florida law permits personal representatives to receive reasonable compensation. Family members often choose to waive this compensation, but they are still legally entitled to reasonable compensation. You can define the compensation your personal representative will receive in your will, as long as the definition is reasonable. Compensation for personal representatives is set by the Florida Statutes as a percentage of the assets of the probate estate. The compensation payable is equal to 3% on the first $1 million; 2.5% on estates above 1 million and not exceeding $5 million; and lower percentages for estates above $5 million.
ARE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES REQUIRED TO SERVE IF NAMED IN A WILL?
No, a named personal representative is not required to serve in this role. They serve at their own discretion. If named, they can decline their appointment and it would fall to the next in line.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE CONTESTS A WILL OR TRUST?
The Probate Court retains jurisdiction to decide will and trust contests. Typically, attorneys are retained to represent each party’s interests in these disputes. Most will or trust disputes are resolved prior to a trial through the use of alternative dispute resolutions, such as mediation and informal settlement discussions between the parties. If necessary, the Probate Court can resolve all estate planning disputes between parties.
Most disputes claims that the decedent did not have the necessary capacity to execute their will or they were unduly influenced to have certain provisions in their will.
WHO USUALLY SERVES AS A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF AN ESTATE?
Most individuals select a trusted family member to serve as their personal representative. If this is not an option, some individuals select a trusted professional such as their financial advisor or attorney.
ARE SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING PERSONAL PROPERTY
(LIKE JEWELRY, FIREARMS, FAMILY HEIRLOOMS, ETC.) VALID?
Yes. Someone can express their desires of this nature at any time at no cost by writing a letter of instruction. Letters of instruction can be updated as often as desired.
ARE PAY-ON-DEATH BANK ACCOUNTS, RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS
AND LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES PART OF THE PROBATE ESTATE?
Payable-on-death accounts transfer directly to the beneficiary named on the account. Most institutions require a copy of the death certificate as well as two forms of identification from the beneficiary. Once the institution’s requirements are satisfied, the account is transferred to the beneficiary.
WHEN IS PROBATE REQUIRED?
Dealing with the death of a loved one is always difficult. Making it even more challenging is the question of how to handle their estate.
At Minot Law we help grieving family members navigate the Florida probate process to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Retaining the services of an experienced probate attorney can provide peace of mind during what can be an otherwise difficult time.
A BRIEF OVERLOOK OF PROBATE
Probate provides the means to administer the affairs of a deceased person’s estate. This task is accomplished with the assistance of the probate court. If the deceased person had a valid will or trust, those documents will communicate the intentions of the decedent.
A decedent’s will may express their preference of a family member, friend, or trusted advisor to administrate and fulfill the decedent's wishes. This person is referred to as the personal representative of the estate. Many people accept the role of the personal representative of a will, or trustee of a trust, without realizing the potential complexities of the process. For this reason, they often choose to work with a trusted law firm.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE PROBATE ADMINISTRATION PROCESS
The personal representative has many responsibilities including duties to both beneficiaries and creditors. In most cases the personal representative named in the will is required to file the appropriate documents with the probate court. In the event there is no will, an interested party should consult with a probate attorney to review the available options.
After opening probate with the assistance of an attorney the personal representative will attempt to identify, collect, and appraise all estate assets. Additionally, the attorney will provide guidance for resolving any debts as well as assist with the determination of rightful heirs.
Without the help of a probate attorney, it is easy to make mistakes and miss deadlines which can result in increased costs that are often the responsibility of the administrator.
Mr. Minot and his staff are awesome. I recently lost my husband of 25 years and had no idea what the legalities were after his death. I would highly, highly recommend Attorney Minot to anyone who needs an attorney. He takes his time and provides wise guidance. The whole experience was wonderful. His office treated me like family and I left his office feeling confident that I had the best of the best in an attorney.
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As a skilled litigation lawyer, Mike Minot represents clients in matters involving real estate, inheritance, and guardianship matters. Whatever your need, Mike Minot is the civil litigator you want on your side to first provide an accurate assessment of your case and then battle for the outcome you desire. With more than three decades of valuable experience, Michael is prepared for any scenario. You will recognize his devotion and ability from your first meeting.