When individuals pass away in Florida, their estates may enter into probate so that the family may settle the deceased final financial affairs. According to the Florida Bar, probate matters may include settling debts and dispersing money and property to beneficiaries named in a deceased individual’s will.
Florida probate requires a personal representative present at any probate hearing, and this individual will have several responsibilities to ensure a successful probate hearing.
Gathering the assets
One of the first duties a personal representative must fulfill is to gather the deceased person’s assets to prepare for probate. This includes savings and checking accounts, retirement accounts, cash on hand and real estate. These individuals also protect the assets from seizure by companies or entities that try to claim them without a valid legal reason or proof that the deceased left a debt behind.
File final taxes
When individuals pass away in Florida, their personal representatives must still satisfy all tax debts in their name. This includes filing final taxes and paying state or federal money owed. The personal representative may want to make copies of the death certificate as proof to the government that the person passed away and that he or she will satisfy the tax debts.
Paying legal debt claims
Companies or individuals may have legal and valid debt claims when a person dies, and it is one of the duties of the personal representatives to settle those claims in full. The claimants may have to prove the debt exists, as well as its validity.
Banks, individuals or trust companies may all serve as personal representatives in Florida probate court.