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Florida Probate Statute 733.612: Transactions Authorized for the Personal Representative; Exceptions

The personal representative is responsible for ensuring that the estate of a decedent is settled and that the assets that remain in the decedent’s probate estate are distributed according to the decedent’s will, if any, or Florida law. Settling a loved one’s estate can be tricky. There are a lot of details that must be handled such as paying bills, defending the estate against claims, filing tax returns, and distributing assets. Many tasks that the personal representative needs to do to settle an estate are authorized by law so that the personal representative does not have to seek probate court approval. If you have questions about the duties and powers of a personal representative, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.612- Transactions authorized for the personal representative; exceptions, contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale estate administration lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

General Duties of the Personal Representative

Upon being appointed by a probate court judge, a personal representative is issued letters of administration that give him the authority to act on behalf of the estate. The general steps in the administration process include collecting and inventorying estate assets, paying estate debt and expenses, settling claims, paying taxes, and distributing assets. Throughout the administration process there are a variety of transactions that may be necessary in order to complete the general duties.

Transactions Authorized for the Personal Representative; Exceptions

In the course of wrapping up a decedent’s estate and ultimately distributing assets, according to Florida Statutes, section 733.612- Transactions authorized for the personal representative; exceptions, the personal representative is authorized to complete a variety of transactions on behalf of the estate without first getting a court order.

Retain assets. The personal representative has the authority to retain property that was owned by the decedent, until it is time to distribute it or sell it.

Handle contracts. The personal representative has the authority to perform a contract into which the decedent had entered. Similarly, as a skilled Fort Lauderdale estate administration lawyer will explain, the personal representative also has the right to refuse to perform a contract if he (or she) determines that is the appropriate course of action.

Receive assets from fiduciaries. The personal representative has the authority to receive assets from fiduciaries or other sources.

Invest funds. The personal representative has investment authority. In making decisions, her must take into consideration the amount to be invested, the liquidity needs of the estate, and the time until distribution will be made.

Acquire or dispose of assets. The personal representative can acquire or dispose of an asset for cash or on credit. The exception to this rule is acquiring or disposing of real property in this or another state.

Repair buildings. The personal representative can make repairs or alterations in buildings or other structures. He can also demolish improvements or erect new party walls or buildings.

Lease agreements. The personal representative has the authority to enter into a lease.

Abandon property. The personal representative has the authority to abandon property if it is of no benefit to the estate.

Insure assets. The personal representative can insure estate assets against damage or loss.

Borrow money. The personal representative can borrow money on behalf of the estate to be repaid from estate assets or otherwise.

Pay taxes. The personal representative is authorized to pay taxes, assessments, and other expenses related to the administration of the estate.

Allocate items to income or principal. The personal representative is authorized to allocate items to either estate income or principal, as permitted by law.

Employ people. The personal representative is authorized to employ persons to help with the administration of the estate. Such persons may include attorneys, accountants, auditors, appraisers, and investment advisers.

Prosecute or defend claims. The personal representative is authorized to prosecute or defend claims or proceedings in any jurisdiction in order to protect the estate or protect himself.

Continue the decedent’s business. The personal representative is allowed to continue the decedent’s business. This may involve taking steps to ensure the smooth transfer to someone else according to a succession plan that the decedent put in place, or it may involve winding down the business. If you have questions about how to handle a decedent’s business, contact a skilled estate administration attorney in Fort Lauderdale.

Avoid personal liability. Provide for exoneration of the personal representative from personal liability in any contract entered into on behalf of the estate.

Distribute assets. Make partial distribution of estate assets as long as the assets distributed are not necessary to satisfy claims, expenses of administration, taxes, family allowance, exempt property, and an elective share. Similarly, the personal representative is authorized to distribute estates that remain in the estate after debts are paid. Any distribution from the estate must be based on the terms of the will and consistent with the Florida Probate Code.

Agreements with the government. The personal representative is authorized to enter into agreements with the government agencies concerning the assessment and collection of any federal tax or any deficiency in a federal tax.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Personal representative; powers as to environmental issues relating to property subject to administration; liability: § 733.6121, Fla. Stat.
  2. Personal representative’s right to sell real property: § 733.613, Fla. Stat.
  3. Powers and duties of successor personal representative: § 733.614, Fla. Stat.
  4. Joint personal representatives; when joint action required: § 733.615, Fla. Stat
FL. Stat, Section 733.612- Transactions Authorized for the Personal Representative; Exceptions

Except as otherwise provided by the will or court order, and subject to the priorities stated in s. 733.805, without court order, a personal representative, acting reasonably for the benefit of the interested persons, may properly:

  1. Retain assets owned by the decedent, pending distribution or liquidation, including those in which the personal representative is personally interested or that are otherwise improper for fiduciary investments.
  2. Perform or compromise, or, when proper, refuse to perform, the decedent’s contracts. In performing the decedent’s enforceable contracts to convey or lease real property, among other possible courses of action, the personal representative may:
    1. Convey the real property for cash payment of all sums remaining due or for the purchaser’s note for the sum remaining due, secured by a mortgage on the property.
    2. Deliver a deed in escrow, with directions that the proceeds, when paid in accordance with the escrow agreement, be paid as provided in the escrow agreement.
  3. Receive assets from fiduciaries or other sources.
  4. Invest funds as provided in ss. 518.10-518.14, considering the amount to be invested, liquidity needs of the estate, and the time until distribution will be made.
  5. Acquire or dispose of an asset, excluding real property in this or another state, for cash or on credit and at public or private sale, and manage, develop, improve, exchange, partition, or change the character of an estate asset.
  6. Make ordinary or extraordinary repairs or alterations in buildings or other structures; demolish improvements; or erect new party walls or buildings.
  7. Enter into a lease, as lessor or lessee, for a term within, or extending beyond, the period of administration, with or without an option to renew.
  8. Enter into a lease or arrangement for exploration and removal of minerals or other natural resources or enter into a pooling or unitization agreement.
  9. Abandon property when it is valueless or so encumbered, or in a condition, that it is of no benefit to the estate.
  10. Vote, or refrain from voting, stocks or other securities in person or by general or limited proxy.
  11. Pay calls, assessments, and other sums chargeable or accruing against, or on account of, securities, unless barred by the provisions relating to claims.
  12. Hold property in the name of a nominee or in other form without disclosure of the interest of the estate, but the personal representative is liable for any act of the nominee in connection with the property so held.
  13. Insure the assets of the estate against damage or loss and insure against personal and fiduciary liability to third persons.
  14. Borrow money, with or without security, to be repaid from the estate assets or otherwise, other than real property, and advance money for the protection of the estate.
  15. Extend, renew, or in any manner modify any obligation owing to the estate. If the personal representative holds a mortgage, security interest, or other lien upon property of another person, he or she may accept a conveyance or transfer of encumbered assets from the owner in satisfaction of the indebtedness secured by its lien instead of foreclosure.
  16. Pay taxes, assessments, and other expenses incident to the administration of the estate.
  17. Sell or exercise stock subscription or conversion rights or consent, directly or through a committee or other agent, to the reorganization, consolidation, merger, dissolution, or liquidation of a corporation or other business enterprise.
  18. Allocate items of income or expense to either estate income or principal, as permitted or provided by law.
  19. Employ persons, including, but not limited to, attorneys, accountants, auditors, appraisers, investment advisers, and others, even if they are one and the same as the personal representative or are associated with the personal representative, to advise or assist the personal representative in the performance of administrative duties; act upon the recommendations of those employed persons without independent investigation; and, instead of acting personally, employ one or more agents to perform any act of administration, whether or not discretionary. Any fees and compensation paid to a person who is the same as, associated with, or employed by, the personal representative shall be taken into consideration in determining the personal representative’s compensation.
  20. Prosecute or defend claims or proceedings in any jurisdiction for the protection of the estate and of the personal representative.
  21. Sell, mortgage, or lease any personal property of the estate or any interest in it for cash, credit, or for part cash or part credit, and with or without security for the unpaid balance.
  22. Continue any unincorporated business or venture in which the decedent was engaged at the time of death:
    1. In the same business form for a period of not more than 4 months from the date of appointment, if continuation is a reasonable means of preserving the value of the business, including good will.
    2. In the same business form for any additional period of time that may be approved by court order.
  23. Provide for exoneration of the personal representative from personal liability in any contract entered into on behalf of the estate.
  24. Satisfy and settle claims and distribute the estate as provided in this code.
  25. Enter into agreements with the proper officer or department head, commissioner, or agent of any department of the government of the United States, waiving the statute of limitations concerning the assessment and collection of any federal tax or any deficiency in a federal tax.
  26. Make partial distribution to the beneficiaries of any part of the estate not necessary to satisfy claims, expenses of administration, taxes, family allowance, exempt property, and an elective share, in accordance with the decedent’s will or as authorized by operation of law.
  27. Execute any instruments necessary in the exercise of the personal representative’s powers.
Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

In Florida, settling a loved one’s estate can be complicated. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, the number of tasks that the personal representative must personally take care of or manage can be extensive. Whether you are a personal representative or another interested party, it is important that you understand the tasks and transactions that the person representative is authorized to handle under Florida’s Probate Code, including, section 733.612- Transactions authorized for the personal representative; exceptions. The skilled estate administration attorneys serving Fort Lauderdale at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing fiduciaries, beneficiaries, and other parties in matters related to estate administration. We can help. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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