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What is an Estate and Who Can Be a Legal Representative?

You’ve probably heard of estates and their legal representatives in terms of planning wills and trusts, but there’s so much more to it than that.

Read on to learn more about estates and who may be their legal representatives.


An estate is the total monetary value of a person’s investments, assets, and interests. This includes their belongings, physical and intangible assets, land and real estate, investments, collectibles, and furnishings.

Legal Representatives

You may be familiar with the terms “executor” or “executrix” in relation to the person responsible for an estate. However, those terms have become antiquated and have been replaced with the “personal representative.”

Who Can Be a Personal Representative

According to the Florida Bar, an individual, or a bank or trust company may be a personal representative of an estate. In order to qualify, you must be a resident of Florida and one of the following in relation to the decedent:

  • Spouse
  • Sibling
  • Parent
  • Child
  • Another close relative

You may not serve as a personal representative if any of the following applies to you:

  • Not a Florida resident
  • Under 18 years of age
  • Mentally or physically unable to perform the necessary tasks
  • Are a convicted felon

The Personal Representative’s Duties

The personal representative of an estate is in charge of carrying out the decedent’s wishes with respect to the distribution of their assets. In addition, the personal representative is also tasked with completing the decedent’s affairs, like paying bills and filing tax returns.

More specifically, according to the Florida Bar, the personal representative will need to do the following:

  • Identify, gather, value, and safeguard the decedent’s probate assets.
  • Publish a “Notice to Creditors” in a local newspaper.
  • Serve a “Notice of Administration.”
  • Conduct research to find “known or reasonably ascertainable” creditors, and let them know the time in which their claims need to be filed.
  • Protest improper claims and defend suits brought on these claims.
  • Pay viable claims.
  • File tax returns and pay taxes that are due.
  • Hire professionals for the administration of the probate estate.
  • Pay the costs of administering the probate estate.
  • Make statutory payments to the decedent’s surviving spouse or family.
  • Divide probate assets to beneficiaries.
  • Close the probate estate.

We’re Here to Help

If you need assistance with an estate, our attorneys here at Harmon Parker, P.A. may be able to help. Our team has helped hundreds of people just like you, and we’re prepared to see if we can help you, too. Don’t wait to contact our office with your case.

Call Harmon Parker, P.A. today at (813) 452-4144 to learn more about how we can help you recover over a free consultation.