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Florida Probate Statute 733.306: Effect of Appointment of Debtor

The personal representative of an estate has the responsibility of ensuring that the decedent’s estate is managed in a manner that is consistent with the terms of the decedent’s will, if any, and in a manner that is consistent with Florida law. The job can be challenging and time-consuming. Furthermore, the actions of the personal representative can have an impact on the value of the estate and the value of the assets that are available to pay creditors and distribute to beneficiaries or heirs. Thus, there are rules related to who my serve as a personal representative. If you would like to learn more about the process of being appointed a personal representative including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.306- Effect of appointment of debtor, contact an experienced estate administration lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Who may be Appointed Personal Representative

According to the Florida Probate Code the following are the general rules relate to who can serve as a personal representative.

  • Must be able to manage his (or her) own affairs
  • Must live in Florida (there are exceptions to this rule for family members)
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be mentally and physically able to perform the duties of the job
  • Must not be a convicted felon

As a Fort Lauderdale estate administration attorney will explain, an eligible corporation can serve as an estate administrator. The corporation must be trust company, bank, or savings and loan that is authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in Florida.

Effect of Appointment of Debtor

Under Florida law, a person who owes a debt to the decedent can serve as personal representative. Debts owed to a decedent do not go away with his death. The debt would still be owed to the decedent’s estate. It would not be unusual for someone who is close to a decedent to owe him or her money. Friends and relatives often lend each other money.

According to Florida Statutes, section 733.306- Effect of appointment of debtor, just because a debtor of the decedent serves as the personal representative to his or her estate does not mean that the debt owed is extinguished. It is not. One of the jobs of the personal representative of an estate is to collect debts owed to the decedent. Thus, a personal representative who is also a debtor is obligated to pay the estate the debt owed.

Responsibilities of the Personal Representative

The personal representative is responsible for managing all of the activities necessary to wind up the decedent’s estate. This includes taking an inventory of the assets that are part of the decedent’s probate estate. The personal representative must locate each asset, makes sure that the assets are protected and safe, and determine their value. As part of his job, the personal representative is required to create an inventory of the assets that are part of the estate and submit it to the probate court. This is necessary for a few reason, including determining how much money and other assets are available in the estate to pay debt owed by the estate. Another reason is to determine the commission owed to the personal representative. Under Florida law, a personal representative would be owed a commission. As a Fort Lauderdale estate administration attorney will explain, the amount of the commission is based on the value of the assets in the estate.

Part of the job of determining the value of the estate and managing would be collecting debt owed to the estate. Thus, it is incumbent upon the personal representative to acknowledge debt owed to the estate and pay it.

Another major responsibility of the personal representative would be to pay debts owed by the estate. Creditors are given notice of a decedent’s death and must file claims within the claims period. The personal representative should only pay claims and debts that he determines to be valid and timely filed. Thus debts and expenses my include expenses related to managing the estate such as legal fees, accounting fees, utilities, insurance premiums, and mortgage payments, as well as debts owed by the decedent at the time of his death. The personal representative is also responsible for filing any outstanding tax returns and paying any taxes that are due.

While beneficiaries and heirs are typically anxious to receive their distributions, as an experienced estate administration lawyer will explain, asset distribution is one of the last acts of the personal representative. Before assets can be distributed, the personal representative must be sure all valid debts have been paid, all expenses have been paid, and all taxes have been paid. Distributions will be made from what is left in the estate.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Preference in appointment of personal representative : § 733.301, Fla. Stat.
  2. Persons not qualified: § 733.303, Fla. Stat.
  3. Nonresidents : § 733.304, Fla. Stat.
  4. Administrator ad litem: § 733.308, Fla. Stat.
FL. Stat, Section 733.306- Effect of Appointment of Debtor

The appointment of a debtor as personal representative shall not extinguish the debt due the decedent.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

In order to serve as the personal representative of an estate, you must be qualified. According to Florida Statutes, section 733.306- Effect of appointment of debtor, owing a debt to the decedent does not disqualify and otherwise qualified person from receiving letters of administration. If you have questions about the process for being named personal representative or debt owed to a decedent, discuss your concerns with an experienced estate administration attorney. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over two decades of experience representing clients in matters related to the administration of estate, and understand the requirements of the Florida Probate Code. We can help. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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