When you agree to serve as the personal representative for a family member who lives in Florida, you must navigate the state’s probate process even if you reside elsewhere. The court where your relative lived will supervise the process of distributing estate assets and settling debts and taxes.
Keep these strategies in mind to help streamline the process of probating a Florida estate from out-of-state.
Know the restrictions
Florida places limits on who can serve as a personal representative, sometimes called an executor in other states. An out-of-state personal representative must be related to the deceased person by adoption, biology or marriage. Otherwise, the state will not allow you to fulfill these duties and will appoint a different representative.
Understand your duties
If you qualify to serve as a Florida personal representative, you must familiarize yourself with the probate laws in the state. The duties of a personal representative for an estate in the Sunshine State include:
- Opening the estate case with a local probate court
- Gathering the assets of the deceased person, putting them in a safe place and obtaining a professional valuation
- Giving notice to possible creditors and attempting to locate known creditors
- Paying valid creditor claims
- Filing the final tax return for the estate
- Distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries according to the deceased person’s wishes
You can also hire local professionals to help you with this process. For example, you can appoint an accountant to handle the estate taxes and an attorney to assist you with the process of locating creditors and selling estate property.