Being asked to serve as the Florida executor of a loved one’s estate is flattering, but it is also a big responsibility and a lot of work. As the Florida executor, you are responsible for taking care of all of the financial and legal matters of the estate, explains the article “An executor’s guide to settling a loved one’s estate” from Review Times. The job will require a lot of time and, depending upon the complexity of the estate and the family situation, could be challenging.
Some of the tasks of a Florida executor include:
- Filing court papers to start the probate process to determine whether the will is valid.
- Making a complete inventory of everything in the estate.
- Obtaining an estate tax ID number, opening an estate bank account and using the estate funds to pay bills, including funeral costs and medical bills.
- If the estate includes a home, maintaining the home and paying the mortgage, taxes, etc.
- Terminating credit cards, notifying banks and government agencies—including Social Security—and the post office.
- Preparing and filing income tax returns for the last year of the person’s life, unless they filed them already, and for the estate.
- Distributing assets, as directed by the will.
Your first task as Florida executor is to locate the will and any important documents and financial information. You will need the will, deeds, titles, brokerage statements, insurance policies, etc.
If the estate is complicated, you will want to work with a Jupiter, Florida estate planning attorney, who can guide you through the process. The estate pays for the attorney, and you work closely with them. Every state has its own laws and timetables for the executor’s responsibilities, a Jupiter, Florida attorney will be familiar with Florida timetables.
If possible, find out if there are any family conflicts, before the loved one passes. If there are potential problems, it may be better for the loved one to tell who will be inheriting what before they die. If there is no plan for asset distribution, the person who is asking you to be the Florida executor needs to meet with an estate planning attorney as soon as possible and have a plan created, with all of the documents necessary for your state.
The Florida executor is entitled to be paid a fee, which is paid by the estate. In most states, that fee is set at a percentage of the estate’s value, depending on the size and complexity of the estate. In Florida, statute law determines executor compensation based on the gross value of the administered estate (as calculated before considering any debts or obligations) and any income it earns during the probate period: 3.0% on the first $1M. 2.5% on the next $4M. 2.0% on the next $5M.
If you are both a Florida executor and a beneficiary, you may want to forgo the fee, because fees are taxable, but in Florida, inheritances are not. If you would like to discuss your options with an estate planning attorney in Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, or Naples, Florida, schedule a complimentary call with Edward J. Welch at Welch Law, PLLC.
Reference: Review Times (Sep. 6, 2020) “An executor’s guide to settling a loved one’s estate”