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Florida Probate Statute 733.308: Administrator Ad Litem

A personal representative in Florida is a person who has been appointed the probate court to settled a decedent’s estate and distribute his (or her) assets according to the terms of the decedent’s will, or based on the rules of intestate succession. Whether the personal representative is an individual or a company, the personal representative must be qualified. While the personal representative typically has the authority to perform wide range of tasks related to the management of an estate, there are circumstances in which another person will be brought in to handle tasks required for the administration of an estate. Such an individual is referred to as an administrator ad litem. If you would like to learn more about the process of being appointed a personal representative as well as the rules associated with the job, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.308- Administrator ad litem, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale estate administration attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Who may act as Personal Administrator

According to the Florida estate law, in order to act as a personal representative of an estate, you must be at least 18 years old and a resident of Florida. In addition, you must not suffer from a mental or physical incapacity such that you are unable to unable to perform the duties. If you are a convicted felon you cannot serve as a Florida personal representative.

The process for becoming a personal representative involves petitioning the court. The court will review your petition to ensure you are qualified. If no one else applies who has a higher appointment preference, you will be issued letters of administration. To learn more about the process for petitioning the probate court to be appointed a personal representative of an estate, contact an estate administration lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.

Duties of a Personal Representative

One of the first jobs of a personal representative is to locate all of the decedent’s assets and establish the date of death values for all of those assets. This step is important because the personal representative must know the how much money and other property is available in the estate to pay debt and expenses, and to distribute to beneficiaries and heirs. If bank and investment accounts are part of the decedent’s probate estate, then those financial institutions must be contacted to obtain the date of death values. For real estate such as the decedent’s residence or vacation home, as well as jewelry, artwork and vehicles, a professional appraiser may have to be hired to determine the fair market value on the date of the decedent’s death.

The personal representative is also responsible for paying estate debts, paying expenses related to administration, and settling claims such as personal injury or contract lawsuits filed against the decedent. The personal representative must evaluate the debt and expenses that must be paid relative to the amount and type of assets in the estate. If necessary, the personal representative may have to sell assets in order to raise cash to pay debts and expenses. With few exceptions, the personal representative cannot make distributions to beneficiaries or heirs until debts and expenses are paid, or unless he is certain that there is enough money in the estate to pay debts and expenses after distributions have been made. The personal representative if also responsible for taking care of the decedent’s and the estate’s tax obligations including filing any tax returns and pay any taxes owed. If a refund is due the estate, the personal representative must see to it that the estate receives it.

One of the last things that the personal representative must do is distribute the assets in the estate to the beneficiaries or heirs. As a Florida estate administration attorney will explain, it is important that the personal representative make sure that all debts and expenses are paid first. Otherwise, he may be personally liable for paying them.

Administrator ad Litem.

An administrator ad litem is specific type of personal representative. An administrator ad litem is appointed only if the existing personal representative is unable to perform a task because of a conflict of interest or for some other reason. According to Florida Statutes, section 733.308- Administrator ad litem, if the court appoints an administrator ad litem, it does so without requiring that he (or she) post a bond. If during the process of managing an estate issues come up that involve a conflict with the personal representative, then the court may appoint an administrator ad litem.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Preference in appointment of personal representative: § 733.301, Fla. Stat.
  2. Who may be appointed personal representative: § 733.302, Fla. Stat.
  3. Persons not qualified: § 733.303, Fla. Stat.
  4. Succession of administration: § 733.307, Fla. Stat.
  5. Personal representative not qualified: § 733.3101, Fla. Stat.
FL. Stat, Section 733.308- Administrator ad Litem

When an estate must be represented and the personal representative is unable to do so, the court shall appoint an administrator ad litem without bond to represent the estate in that proceeding. The fact that the personal representative is seeking reimbursement for claims against the decedent does not require appointment of an administrator ad litem.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have questions related to the appointment of an administrator ad litem, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.308- Administrator ad litem, it is important that you discuss your concerns with an experienced estate administration attorney serving Fort Lauderdale. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over two decades of experience representing clients in matters related to probate, fiduciaries, estate litigation, and estate administration and understand the rules of the Florida Probate Code. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.