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Three Ways a Probate Lawyer Helps Personal Representatives Avoid Mistakes

March 14, 2022 CSBB Blog

When Florida and Palm Beach County residents create their estate plan, they often instinctively choose a close friend or family member as their estate’s personal representative. Your personal representative has a great responsibility and likely is not familiar with the role you have asked them to play. 

Although the personal representative is not required to hire an attorney, moving forward without one can make the process more difficult and may even result in costly mistakes. If you have been named as the personal representative of an estate and are feeling overwhelmed, a Florida and Palm Beach County probate attorney can help.

 A Florida and Palm Beach County probate attorney at Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun understands the challenge faced by personal representatives and the laws surrounding probate, as well as the related fields of law including estate planning and administration, asset protection planning, estate litigation, tax planning, guardianship, mediation, and business entities and transactions.

We Understand the Pitfalls Awaiting an Inexperienced Personal Representative

A personal representative is a person appointed by the court (often because they were initially named or nominated in the decedent’s will) to administer/oversee the decedent’s estate. Obviously, mistakes made by personal representatives can have damaging and lasting detrimental effects on an estate and the deceased’s loved ones and beneficiaries.

An inexperienced personal representative can make a host of mistakes, but a Florida probate attorney can help guide them toward success in the following ways:

#1 Ensure Communication with the Beneficiaries

Although you are not required to communicate details of every action you take to the beneficiaries, they do have the right to know the status of the process. Therefore, ignoring the beneficiaries, even if you are very busy, is a common but serious mistake that could see a personal representative removed from his or her duties. A Florida and Palm Beach County probate attorney at Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun can help ensure beneficiaries feel updated and secure about the status of the proceedings.

#2 Properly Identify and Secure the Estate’s Assets

One of the first things a personal representative will need to do after the decedent’s passing is to identify all assets of the estate and secure them immediately. Failing to do so in a timely manner may expose you to personal liability and you may be held responsible for any financial losses incurred by the estate. As experienced estate planning attorneys, we have the tools, insight, and knowledge to help accurately identify all of the estate’s assets to avoid any future complications.

#3 Ensure Payment of Valid Claims Asserted Against the Estate

If the decedent had any valid debts, the creditors of these debts may be able to make claims against the estate to collect on their debts. One of the important duties of a personal representative is to administer the payment of these claims and notify any reasonably discoverable creditors.

In Florida, there are specific requirements controlling the payment of claims made against an estate, which the personal representative must comply with to make sure that creditors are paid in a timely and orderly fashion. As your probate attorneys, our team can help guide you through these specific requirements to make sure nothing is missed.

Talk to a Professional Today About Your Personal Representative Duties

At Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun we are very experienced with all of the laws and details governing the duties of personal representatives. We will be right there with you as you work your way through the process, helping you avoid costly mistakes.

Speak with a Florida and Palm Beach County probate attorney at Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun as soon as possible so that no critical deadlines pass. We will help you identify anything that needs to be done, when it has to be done, and how to do it. In fact, we can even do it for you. Contact us today to learn more and get started.

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