You may not be able to fully understand it now, but your loved one who recently died in Hernando County may have left quite a mess for you to deal with (particularly if he or she asked you to be the personal representative for his or her estate). People are often encouraged to entrust such a responsibility to those they can trust and that they feel are capable of fulfilling the task (hence your appointment). Yet if your experience in estate matters is lacking, you may quickly feel overwhelmed. Many in your same position have come to us here at Day Law with one simple question: What do I do?
Fortunately, the law defining your duties as a personal representative is straightforward: According to Section 733.602(1) of the Florida Probate Code, you are to act as a fiduciary to distribute the assets of your loved one’s estate per both state law and the stipulations of his or her will. The law goes on to say that as long as you adhere to the instructions and provisions of the will, you are able to complete your duties without the need of a court order.
Of course, completing those tasks is impossible without first having a detailed inventory of the estate’s assets and liabilities. Hopefully, your loved one already had such information prepared for you, yet if not, then preparing an inventory becomes your first major job as personal representative. You can enlist the assistance of the court in doing so (or at any time during the process).
Provided that you remain diligent in observing the terms of the will, you cannot be held liable for any losses the estate sustains. More information about the personal representative’s role in the probate process can be discovered here on our site.