Orlando Estate Administrator & Executor Lawyer
When you are named in the will or appointed by the court to serve as the executor or administrator of an estate, you have a long and thankless task ahead of you. You were chosen as executor because you are someone the testator or the state believes and trusts in to handle the job competently and diligently. Perhaps the greatest strength of an estate administrator is knowing one’s limits and when it is time to call on professional help to ensure the estate is handled correctly. Our Orlando probate lawyers at Gierach and Gierach provide sound advice and technical assistance to estate administrators and executors to help probate and estate administration run smoothly and conclude successfully in an efficient manner.
Duties of an estate executor or administrator in Florida
The job of the executor or administrator is to gather the assets of the estate and distribute them according to the terms of the will or Florida intestacy laws, in the event the deceased passed on without leaving a valid will. This job can include all of the following tasks:
- File the will with the probate court
- Inventory and appraise estate assets, including both real and personal property
- Provide notice to potential creditors
- Settle or challenge claims made against the estate
- Pay taxes and debts owed by the estate
- File a final tax return for the estate
The above procedures apply to a full probate administration. Depending on the size and nature of the estate, it may be possible to proceed with a summary administration or even a disposition without administration. It’s also important to distinguish between domiciliary proceedings, where the deceased was domiciled in Florida, versus ancillary administration, where the deceased was domiciled in another state but owned property in Florida. Each distinction requires a different approach to probate administration. An experienced Florida probate lawyer can walk you through the necessary steps and answer any questions you may have.
Not all property must be probated, but only property which was owned solely by the deceased or owned jointly with another but without adequately providing for transferring ownership upon death. For instance, insurance policies and pension plans fall outside of probate, but only if a beneficiary was previously designated on the policy or plan. Our Orlando estate planning attorneys help people plan to avoid or minimize probate while meeting all of their estate planning needs and goals, which in turn lessens the burden on the executor or administrator of the estate.
Proper estate administration requires diligence and skill
If there were only one thing to learn about serving as the executor or administrator of an estate, it would probably be that something always comes up during probate or estate administration that was not anticipated by the person making the will. Wills may be challenged based on allegations of undue influence, there may be more than one will in existence, or omitted heirs may claim an entitlement to a portion of the estate. There may be a dispute over who owns property ostensibly belonging to the estate, or claims against the estate which must be resolved before the terms of the will can be carried out.
Executors and administrators should also know that they owe fiduciary duties to the estate and its heirs and beneficiaries, and they can be held personally liable for mistakes which prove costly to the estate. Let the experienced probate attorneys at Gierach and Gierach advise and assist you through the complex Florida probate process, to help keep you from making serious mistakes that negatively impact the estate’s heirs and beneficiaries.
Help is Available for Orlando Estate Executors and Administrators
Sound advice and professional assistance are an immeasurable benefit to persons serving as an estate executor or administrator. In Orlando, contact Gierach and Gierach for the level of service you need to fulfill your duties efficiently and effectively.