With only two (2) exceptions, a personal representative (Executor) must be represented by an attorney when dealing with the probate court.
- Disposition without Administration — When assets are less than up to $6k in funeral expenses plus the total of reasonable and necessary medical expenses during the last 60 days of the decedent’s final illness.
- Summary Administration — Certain cases in which the decedent’s assets are less than $75k plus an exempt homestead real property.
- Formal Administration — Most other cases involving the passing of the decedent’s solely-owned assets, whether or not there was a will.
- Ancillary Administration — Disposition of Florida real property owned by non-residents.
A Trustee must perform most all tasks which are required of a personal representative (executor) in connection with the administration of a trust.
In Florida today, a Trust Administration is required by Chapter 736, Florida Statutes. It is not sufficient for a trustee, who has assumed the fiduciary control of a trust after the death of the Grantor, to simply distribute the assets and terminate the trust. Florida Statutes now require the trustee to comply with requirements that include duties not only to creditors (ascertainable and unknown), but to the beneficiaries, as well. The best time to investigate the legal responsibilities is immediately after assuming the role as trustee. A trustee who fails to comply with statutory requirements may be personally responsible to the creditors and beneficiaries of the trust.
Will and Trusts
- Will — A written direction controlling the disposition of property (assets) after death; and, generally speaking, only those assets which have neither a co-owner nor a properly-titled beneficiary.
- Trust — A written agreement setting forth terms and conditions upon which trust funds (assets) may be expended and for whom. At Skipper & Skipper, we usually suggest that a trust is appropriate when the client owns real estate outside of the State of Florida, or when the client wishes to control how the beneficiary receives the inheritance.
Advanced Care Directives
Advanced Care Directives consist of a variety of written preparations which provide for disability or situations in which we cannot make decisions for ourselves. This would include situations when we are not only able to make those decisions, but when we do not wish to do so for any reason.
- Durable Power of Attorney — A document which authorizes another to perform particular acts, even if the donor becomes incapacitated.
- Health Care Surrogate — A document which allows someone else to make health care decisions if the principal is unable to do so.
- Living Will Declaration — A document setting forth the intention to die without life-prolonging procedures.
- Pre-Need Guardian Designation — A document nominating the party to serve as guardian if the affiant should require a court-ordered guardianship.