Who takes immediate possession of estate property?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2019 | Firm News, Probate |

The first question that many have after one passes away in Hernando County is “What next?” If you have been selected to serve as the personal representative or executor of a family member’s or friend’s estate, you might have the exact same inquiry. The important thing to remember is that your first order of business once the estate has been submitted to probate is taking an inventory of its assets. 

That will likely require you to take possession of many of those assets so that you can determine what is available to help settle the decedent’s outstanding liabilities. Section 733.607 of the Florida Probate Code gives you the right to possess such assets (minus the decedent’s homestead). In the case of the homestead, the decedent’s immediately family may need it to remain as their residence as the estate is being administered. That does not necessarily mean that you cannot sell the home if that it what is needed to settle the estate’s debts; it simply means that the decedent’s immediately family has the right to remain in it until such action is taken. 

As a personal representative, you can allow beneficiaries to take possession of estate property of they are the presumed beneficiaries of that property in the decedent’s will. That said, you can also take that property back at any time if possession is needed in order to see to its administration. “Administration” in this context might not necessarily mean returning as asset to the beneficiary. If, for example, a creditor has a claim on the property, you may need to liquidate it in order to settle the claim. In such a case, you would then take the profits generated from the sale and return them to the beneficiary.