The term “Personal Representative”, commonly called a “PR” is a fairly common legal term that most people have heard, but don’t necessarily understand what they do or what they are for. This article will discuss: when a personal representative is necessary and what is required of the personal representative.
There are two main types of probate, Summary Administration and Formal Administration. Summary Administration is an abbreviated proceeding that requires less formalities, time, and money than Formal Administration. An estate will qualify for summary administration if the value of the decedent’s assets do not exceed $75,000 (not including homestead property). An estate will also qualify for Florida summary administration if the decedent has been dead for more than two years, regardless of the value of his or her assets, but there must have been no prior administration. A personal representative is not required for Summary Administrations.
Formal Administrations requires the court to appoint a personal representative to locate and protect the decedent’s probate assets. Further, formal administrations also require the petitioner to be represented by an attorney. The PR is chosen by the decedent in their will, or if there is no will the personal representative is generally the surviving spouse or an individual chosen by a majority of the heirs. The personal representative must be a resident of Florida unless they are a close relative or spouse. Finally, individuals who have been convicted of a felony, is mentally or physically unable to perform the duties, and/or is under the age of 18 years are unable to serve as Personal Representative.
The personal representative does not have the power to determine who or where assets are going. It is their duty to follow the court’s instructions on how to distribute the assets of the decedent. In certain circumstances, the court will even require the personal representative to pay for a bond, to ensure that they follow the court’s instructions. This expense would be paid back to the personal representative at the close of the estate. Often times, the requirement for a bond is waived by the court.
Here at The Weil Law Group, we handle summary administrations and formal administrations. Often, we can also give you a low fixed price upfront handle your probate matter. If you have any questions or need any help call 954-603-7603. We are here to help.