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What to Do if You Have Been Named Executor of an Estate

When drafting a will, it is common to include the name of the person you wish to serve as executor of your estate in the probate process. The executor, also known as the personal representative, is responsible for most aspects of closing the estate. This includes collecting and appraising the estate’s assets, repaying the estate’s debts and then carrying out the provisions of the will to divide the estate according to the testator’s wishes. The role of executor can last from a few months to years depending on the size and complexity of the estate involved.

If you have been named executor in a will, you have some choices to make. First, you can decide whether or not you want to accept the duties of this role. You cannot be forced to serve as an executor, even if you agreed to do it at the time the will was written. If you choose not to take on this role, a court will act according to Florida law to select and appoint someone else to take over this duty.

If you choose to serve as the personal representative of the estate, you must next decide whether to enlist help, and if so, whom to choose to assist you. If the estate involves large investments, business interests or other complex assets, you may wish to enlist an accountant, an investment professional or others to assist in managing the estate as you determine its value and divide assets. You may also seek the services of an expert to appraise certain possessions such as the contents of a wine cellar, a comic book collection or foreign real estate.

In addition to all of these specialists, many executors make the choice to consult an attorney. A professional probate lawyer can take on as little or as much of the estate work as you want. Whether you are seeking occasional advice or looking for someone to handle the bulk of your duties, it can make sense to have a knowledgeable attorney in your corner.

For more assistance as you decide whether to administer an estate, speak with a trusted Florida estate planning attorney at the Charles Law Offices.

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