A personal representative nominated under a will cannot legally act as the personal representative before the probate judge has officially determined that the person is qualified to serve and appoints that person as the personal representative or executor of a Miami decedent’s estate.
If the decedent died without a will, a personal representative will need to be named. The surviving spouse has priority in asking the judge to appoint the surviving spouse the personal representative. If there is no surviving spouse, the person agreed upon by the majority of the decedent’s heirs may be appointed to serve as personal representative. However if the heirs cannot agree on a personal representative, the court will appoint one.
If you are involved in the probate of a Miami estate, it is important that you hire an experienced Miami probate and estate attorney to help you establish the probate and to help with other estate matters that may arise such as will contests or accounting challenges.
Letters of administration are issued in a formal probate administration. The probate estate consists of assets that were owned by the decedent in the decedent’s sole name at the time of death. Property that was held jointly by the decedent with a spouse, other family member or someone else, or have a named beneficiary like a life insurance policy or has been transferred to a trust is exempt from probate because they pass to the co-owner or beneficiary automatically. So a Miami decedent could have assets in a trust worth $1,000,000 for the benefit of the decedent’s beneficiaries, yet there would be no need to establish a probate or to have letters of administration issued because those assets would pass to the beneficiaries outside of probate.
Letters of administration give a personal representative authority to act on behalf of the decedent’s estate. They are necessary because they give third parties directions on how to transfer the decedent’s assets to the estate so that they can be distributed to the decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries. Letters of administration are used by the personal representative to close the decedent’s bank accounts and other financial accounts, open the decedent’s safe deposit box to obtain the contents, sell real estate owned by the decedent, open an estate bank account, pay bills and creditors of the decedent, manage and wind up the estate.
Miami Estate Attorney
If you are a personal representative of a Miami estate, it is recommended that you speak with a Miami probate and estate attorney to assist you with the estate administration.
If you wish to speak to a Miami estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (786) 522-1411.